PHOENIX -- Battling with Rickie Weeks for Brewers second-base duties, 23-year-old Scooter Gennett is trying not to sweat his slow spring start.
"It's tough," Gennett said. "As a baseball player in any situation, at any age, you want to do well and you want to have success, you want to help your team out. You just want to have good days at the ballpark."
So far, days at the ballpark have been a bit frustrating. Facing a steady stream of left-handed pitchers -- Gennett estimates that nearly half of his at-bats have been against southpaws -- the left-handed hitter is 1-for-13 with a walk and four strikeouts entering Thursday. Weeks, meanwhile, entered Thursday's game 4-for-9 with a home run after making adjustments to his batting stance during the offseason.
"I told [Gennett] yesterday not to worry about the numbers," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I don't worry about the numbers, so I don't think they should. I just want to see good at-bats and good plays on defense. We know he can hit. Whether he's a .325 hitter or whatever he hit last year [.324 in 69 games], I don't know that. But he can hit."
The Brewers are billing this as an open competition, even though Gennett outplayed Weeks at the plate and in the field last season and will cost about $10.5 million less. Weeks is due $11 million this season in the final guaranteed year of his contract.
Gennett is not focused on any of that.
"I learned in the Minor Leagues that whole process, the mental side of leaving things at the field and not taking them back home with you, and almost having a short memory," Gennett said. "You find tools that work for you, and you go to those when times get tough, and you usually get through it."
So far, Weeks and Gennett have essentially been playing every other day at second base. That could begin to change as starting pitchers work deeper into games, allowing Roenicke to choose his starting second baseman based on matchups, as he would if they both break camp with the team.
Gennett batted only .154 (6-for-39) against left-handers last season and said he actually was glad to get some early at-bats against southpaws. He wants to improve in that area.
"Really, for me, it's just letting the ball get a little deeper and putting together better at-bats," he said. "Gradually, as I keep on facing them, I'll feel more comfortable. It's a process."
Brewers reassign two catchers to Minors camp
PHOENIX -- With the calendar marching toward Opening Day, the Brewers made their first camp cuts Thursday by reassigning non-roster catchers Cameron Garfield and Adam Weisenburger to Minor League camp.
Club officials met in the morning to begin discussing a plan for the first round of roster moves, and they made the announcement after a 5-3 win over the Rockies at Maryvale Baseball Park. Since Minor League camp is open, players who were on the 40-man roster prior to November can already be optioned out, and non-roster players can simply be returned to the Minor League complex. Players who are on the 40-man roster for the first time can be optioned beginning March 10.
"There will be some guys that we need to get over to the other side," said manager Ron Roenicke. "Our [pitchers] are starting to extend and it's going to be less playing time for some of the guys. The ones that we know are going back down, we'll make moves with them."
The pace of camp cuts will probably accelerate after March 14, when Milwaukee's Minor League teams begin their Spring Training games with a slate against Angels affiliates. The Class A Advanced Brevard County and Class A Wisconsin clubs will play at Maryvale Baseball Park that day, and the Triple-A Nashville and Double-A Huntsville clubs will play on the road.
Pet Adoption Day to feature Hank the Ballpark Pup
PHOENIX -- Hank the Ballpark Pup is already the star of Brewers Spring Training, and now he's getting into the community relations business. The club announced that Saturday will be "Pet Adoption Day" at Maryvale Baseball Park, a benefit organized by the Arizona Humane Society.
The Society will have animals available for adoption on site at the Brewers-Royals game, and Hank will be on hand to take photos with those who donate to the organization.
Hank, believed to be a bichon frise mix with curly white fur, wandered into the Brewers' lives just as pitchers and catchers reported for camp. A stadium employee named him for former Milwaukee star Hank Aaron and took him to a local vet, who spotted signs of Hank being run over by a vehicle during his journey.
When no one in the neighborhood responded to signs seeking Hank's owner, the Brewers took him in. Third-base coach Ed Sedar feeds Hank each morning, and a different club or city of Phoenix employee takes him home each night. On Wednesday, it was Craig Counsell's turn.
Hank's story has been covered from MLB.com to USA Today to the Fox News Channel to People Magazine and all points in between.
"I'm second banana now," broadcaster Bob Uecker said in a Tweet soon after Hank's arrival.
The Brewers have a plan for Hank at the end of camp, but they have yet to make it public. Spokesman Tyler Barnes said he had received dozens of requests to adopt the pup, and Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said that his wife, Debbie, is on that list.
"I was in Europe this week on business and I had four texts from my wife," Attanasio said when he visited camp for the team's first full-squad workout. "Three of them were, 'What can I do to adopt Hank the Dog?'"