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06/09/07 8:43 PM ET
Notes: Changes don't indicate panic
Hardy and Hall get a break on Saturday, as Gwynn leads off
By Shawn Smajstrla / Special to MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- After starting the season 24-10, the Brewers won only nine of their next 27 games entering Saturday night's contest at Texas. Following a 7-6 loss to the Rangers Friday night, manager Ned Yost made some noticeable changes to the lineup on Saturday.
Missing from the lineup were J.J. Hardy and last season's team MVP Bill Hall. Still, Yost was adamant before the game that it wasn't an indication of panic.
"I'm very pleased with the way they're going about their business and the way they're playing, for the most part," Yost said of his team.
The skipper dismissed the notion that the offense is to blame for the team's recent stretch, despite the club scoring three runs or less in 15 of its last 23 games.
"I really don't look at it as offensive woes," he said. "We're just not scoring enough runs to win right now. The reason we're not scoring enough runs is because our pitching is giving up too many runs, plain and simple."
Still, Yost was quick to support his pitchers as well.
"I think the strength of our team is pitching, I really do," he added. "I expect a lot out of them. I think we're making some adjustments and every team goes through these things, offensively and pitching-wise. Everybody has their little streaks. These guys can get on a roll and go a long time in-between bad starts. They're that good."
Yost added that he had no doubt the pitching would come around, and that's why he doesn't put any stock in statistics like a 9-18 record over the last month.
"It's a whole year," he said. "I don't look at 9-18. You guys have fun doing that. I look at today."
Tony Gwynn was among the changes to Saturday's lineup. The young outfielder was slotted into the leadoff spot, and he didn't see the shakeup as a big deal.
"For the most part I think [Yost] is just giving some guys some days off and giving them a chance for their mind to rest," Gwynn said.
Gross gets rare opportunity to DH:
With Milwaukee playing at an American League park, the designated hitter rule comes into play. That duty fell to Gabe Gross on Friday and he was slotted into that role again on Saturday after going 1-for-4 Friday night.
"It's different a little bit," Gross said of the DH role. "I came from an American League team in Toronto a couple of years ago, so I've been able to be in the DH role a little bit, especially in the Minor Leagues and some in the big leagues."
Gross would prefer to be on the field, but isn't complaining about the opportunity to get plate appearances.
"I would prefer to be in the outfield," he said. "I would definitely rather be playing, but I'll take at-bats any way I can get them."
Rehab assignment not ruled out for Weeks:
Injured second baseman Rickie Weeks continues to strengthen his right wrist after receiving a cortisone injection to battle scar tissue. He is scheduled to be eligible to come off the 15-day DL on Thursday, and Yost hasn't ruled out a brief rehab assignment for Weeks when he does return.
"Playing baseball is a little tougher than sitting out for two weeks and jumping right in against Major League pitchers," Yost said. "It'd be nice if we sent him out for a day or two to get some at-bats. But again, we're still a ways from that. Nobody has made any decisions on that."
Weeks played catch in the outfield prior to Saturday's game at Texas after taking a few ground balls on Friday.
The Brewers complete a three-game Interleague set at Texas on Sunday. Dave Bush will take the hill for the Brew Crew. Bush had retired 16 of the last 18 Cubs hitters before the seventh inning of his last start, when he surrendered a tying single and then watched four more runs score as the Cubs snatched a win from the Brewers. Bush was charged with four runs in his six-plus innings and lost his third straight decision and fifth in his last six decisions. Bush is 1-2 on the road this season with a 7.09 ERA in five starts, continuing a trend from last year when he was just 3-7 away from Miller Park with a 5.38 ERA. He made his only career appearance against the Rangers in Arlington, where he allowed four runs in seven innings of a no-decision. Vicente Padilla (2-8, 6.45) starts for the Rangers. First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. CT.