08/19/12 2:10 PM ET
Braun busts out of slump in NL MVP-like fashion
By Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
Aoki, Hart, Ramirez get breather, out of lineup
MILWAUKEE -- With almost three quarters of the season in the books, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has become more conscious of when his everyday players might need a break.One game after giving Rickie Weeks a day off, Roenicke held Norichika Aoki, Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez out of the starting lineup on Sunday against the Phillies. That left three of the Brewers' best hitters and a combined 163 RBIs sitting on the bench. Although it was difficult to give all of them a break -- particularly Hart and Ramirez -- in the same game, Roenicke said it was a necessary evil. "They've been playing hard and going at it," Roenicke said. "And when I asked them, the day games is when they really feel it's the hardest for them to get out there. You hate to take both of them out, but the good thing is we get them both back tomorrow." Hart had played every game since the All-Star break, and Ramirez had only sat out twice in that span with a sore wrist. Aoki, meanwhile, has played 109 games in his first year in the Major Leagues, and Roenicke said he has to keep an eye on how the former Japanese Central League batting champion is holding up.
In place of Hart, Travis Ishikawa got the start at first base, batting fifth. Cody Ransom started at third for Ramirez and hit seventh. Nyjer Morgan, who got the nod in right for Aoki, was in the leadoff spot.
With just four players on his bench on Saturday, Roenicke elected to use starting pitcher Mark Rogers as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning. Milwaukee has been carrying an extra pitcher as the bullpen tries to work out its issues, and Roenicke said he hopes the club can move a reliever and bring in another position player soon."That's where I'd like to get to," Roenicke said. "But we need to make sure we're OK in the bullpen. We talked to [general manager Doug Melvin] about it, we've talked as a staff about it. Our bullpen guys seem to be throwing the ball well again, and if that continues, I think we can get back to the five-man bench. But it's hard when the bullpen guys aren't throwing well, and we start getting pressured a little bit with our starters maybe if they're not doing their job. Then the bullpen gets taxed and you need an extra guy." With Mike Fiers at a career high for innings (142), Roenicke said the Brewers will be monitoring the rookie pitcher, but he did not have a set number for when they might shut him down or begin to limit him. "He's fine right now," Roenicke said. "It will come up and we'll talk about it later on, but right now, he's fine." Jean Segura started his 12th game Sunday. The rookie shortstop entered the series finale batting .243 with four RBIs and a stolen base since coming to Milwaukee in the Zack Greinke trade. Roenicke said he's happy with what Segura has done in a short amount of time, but he's excited to see more out of the 22-year-old the rest of the season and hopefully beyond. "He does a lot of things that allow us, I think, to look at him and say this guy's got a chance to be a good Major Leaguer," Roenicke said.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.