09/06/12 6:10 PM ET
Weeks stops chasing, gets in a groove at plate
By Tom Green / MLB.com
After getting off to a slow start, hitting .162 through the middle of June, Weeks has turned things around. Over his last 72 games, the Brewers second baseman is hitting .285 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs, raising his overall average to .230 entering Thursday's series finale at Marlins Park.
They key to the turnaround, according to Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, has been Weeks backing off breaking balls low in the zone.
"You see, when these guys get locked in, it's always because they stop chasing like that," Roenicke said. "Then the pitcher goes, 'Well, what do I do now?'"
Roenicke said it's similar to what he saw from Weeks at the beginning of last season when the second baseman was producing offensively, but was still chasing a lot of pitches during the first month of the season. After chasing early in the year, Weeks settled in and went on to earn his first All-Star Game nod.
"That's where he is right now," Roenicke said. "Everybody's going to chase. Everybody is, but there's a certain amount of times where you just can't do it time after time. When he stopped chasing last year, he got really scary, because there's really no place to go to for a pitcher to get him out.
"If players stop swinging at [the ball low] and the pitchers know they have to come back up in the zone, it's not a good thing."
While Weeks has zoned in at the plate -- he smacked two homers Wednesday to up his total to 16 -- Roenicke believes another factor in the second baseman's turnaround has been his health. Weeks suffered a significant ankle sprain last July, and still wasn't 100 percent during Spring Training. The tape on his ankle affected his approach at the plate, leaving him flatfooted.
Since Weeks hit his stride in July, though, Roenicke says the second baseman has been feeling much more comfortable health-wise.
Crew cautious with Aramis, call up Green
MIAMI -- The Brewers recalled infielder Taylor Green from Triple-A Nashville following their series finale against the Marlins.
The move to recall Green, who was initially not a part of the club's September callups, gives the Brewers some added depth at third base while cleanup hitter Aramis Ramirez is sidelined with a lower back strain.
The Brewers were without Ramirez for Thursday's 6-2 loss to the Marlins. Ramirez injured his back during an at-bat in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 8-5 win, and he was removed for a pinch-hitter in the ninth. He said following the game that he should be fine, but manager Ron Roenicke spoke with the slugger and said he would be out of the lineup before being re-evaluated when the team travels to St. Louis.
"You always worry about those things, because they can be more than what the player thinks," Roenicke said. "He says, 'I don't think it's that bad, maybe just a day.' Sometimes it turns into a lot more than that."
Roenicke is optimistic that Ramirez won't miss too many games, but acknowledged how big of a loss it would be to the middle of Milwaukee's lineup if the injury lingers. Ramirez is hitting .295 with 21 homers and 89 RBIs while batting mostly cleanup for the Brewers. He paces the team with 43 doubles and is second with 143 hits.
Ramirez has also been an anchor at the hot corner, starting all but 16 games. Jeff Bianchi made his first career start at third on Thursday in place of Ramirez, and Roenicke was impressed with Bianchi's play.
"You've got a good athlete, a good shortstop who shouldn't be a problem at third," Roenicke said. "You're a little closer to the ball there. The throw is a little easier, but [Bianchi's] got good footwork and good hands. It shouldn't be a problem."
Before the game, Roenicke said the Brewers would recall Green if they thought Ramirez's injury might linger longer than expected. Green was already on Milwaukee's 40-man roster and made five starts at third earlier in the season. He hit .198 in 44 games with the Brewers.
Even Marlins Park can't contain high-flying Brewers
MIAMI -- Clearing the high outfield walls at spacious Marlins Park hasn't been an issue for the National League's top home-run-hitting club.
Through their first three games at the pitcher-friendly stadium, the Brewers hit six homers, including three in Wednesday's 8-5 win against the Marlins.
"I think we've got one of the best offenses in the league," said Corey Hart, who hit his 27th homer of the season Wednesday. "It doesn't matter where we go, we seem to hit the ball deep and score runs."
Much has been made of Marlins Park's deep dimensions -- it plays 344 feet down the left-field line, 418 feet to center and 335 feet down the right-field line -- and high fences, but Milwaukee hasn't had too much trouble with it. Only one of the Brewers' six homers this series has been a wall-scraper. Carlos Gomez's blast on Monday bounced off the top of the left-field wall and into the Marlins' bullpen.
"The park is so big," said Rickie Weeks, who hit two on Wednesday. "Sometimes we get a hold of some balls enough to get it out of the park no matter where we're at. The park is still big regardless of the situation."
While the Brewers have crushed several balls in Miami, the ballpark has still shown its ability to contain some deep shots that would be gone at most other venues. Ryan Braun, the NL home run leader, launched a ball to the deepest part of center field in the first inning Tuesday, but instead of clearing the wall, the ball caromed off it for an RBI double.
The way Marlins Park plays reminds Braun of Citi Field before the Mets moved the fences in this season, and he said that it's noticeable during batting practice. The Marlins currently have no plans to bring in the outfield walls next season.
"It's gotten its reputation as a pitchers' ballpark for a reason," Braun said. "It's definitely not a place where you're going to get any cheap homers, that's for sure."
Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.