04/07/2013 8:27 PM ET
With Braun still ailing, Roenicke shakes up lineup
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The bottom line for the Brewers on Sunday was that Ryan Braun's neck was still too stiff to start against Arizona. He missed a third straight game and was growing weary of the constant questions.
"I don't want to do status updates every day," Braun said. "As soon as I'm able to get to a point where I have any chance to contribute and play, I'll be playing. It's a little bit better today than yesterday, which is a good thing. Other than that, as soon as I can play, as soon as I have any chance to contribute, I'm playing."
Braun was not playing Sunday, so manager Ron Roenicke employed another new left fielder (Logan Schafer) and another new lineup, this one with second-year shortstop Jean Segura batting in Braun's three-hole and second baseman Rickie Weeks hitting cleanup for the first time in his Major League career.
With Braun sidelined and third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the disabled list with a sprained knee, Segura (9-for-18 through five games) and Weeks (8-for-19) were the only two healthy Brewers regulars batting better than .286 as of Sunday morning.
Brewers catchers Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado entered Sunday a combined 2-for-22. First baseman-turned-third baseman Alex Gonzalez was 1-for-16. Center fielder Carlos Gomez was 2-for-19.
"We need to score some runs -- well, we need to pitch better first, though," manager Ron Roenicke said. "If we pitch better, we'll scratch out some runs."
He reiterated later on that the Brewers' equally slow start on the mound was his chief concern at the moment. In their first turn through the five-man rotation, the Brewers produced only one quality start. Opponents entered Sunday batting .333 against Brewers pitchers, second-worst in the Majors to Yankees' pitchers' .339.
"There's a lot of other things going on on the mound than worrying about how many runs we're going to score," Roenicke said. "We need to find out what we're doing, pitching-wise, and getting ahead of people and not throwing so many balls down the middle for these guys to hit."
At some point in the near future, Roenicke wants to return to the standard 12-pitcher, 13-position-player alignment. That would give him a five-man bench and a seven-man bullpen.
"We've talked about it," he said. "Right now, we're not looking at doing that. We've talked about a game plan of about where we think we need to be in trying to get back to a five-man bench. But there's too many other things going on to worry about a five-man bench right now, with just trying to put together a lineup like this and get Brauny back and get some kind of lineup where we feel that we can be consistent with."
Amid those issues, sitting has not been easy, Braun said.
"I feel like I've been out for a week," he said, "and it's been less than 48 hours since I did it. Hopefully it gets better sooner rather than later. Like I said the other day, there's never a good time for it, it's never easy. But it's just much more challenging to watch when you have other guys hurt and we're not off to a great start. It's not fun for me to sit here and watch, that's for sure."
Segura day to day after sustaining bruised left thigh
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers shortstop Jean Segura was upset Sunday about the aggressive Gerardo Parra slide that knocked him out of an 11-inning, 8-7 loss to the D-backs at Miller Park.
The play in question came in the third inning, when Parra broke for second base on Martin Prado's grounder to first. The Brewers' Yuniesky Betancourt made a diving stop, bobbled the baseball, then made a wide throw to Segura covering second base that arrived just as Parra slid, banging his left knee into Segura's left thigh.
Segura hit the dirt in pain but stayed in the game for two more innings before exiting. The Brewers said he'd suffered a bruised left thigh, and he will be reevaluated before Monday's afternoon game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
"I don't think it's all right," Segura said. "I think it was a little dirty. … He was across the base and when he slid, he brought his knee up and across."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke had a different view of Parra's slide.
"Fine," Roenicke said. "He's going in there thinking he has to break up two. By the time he gets that close to Seggy, he doesn't know that [Betancourt] bobbles that ball. I thought it was fine."
Segura, off to a 9-for-20 start to his first full Major League season, said "I don't know yet" when asked if he believed he'd be able to play in the Cubs' home opener on Monday.
The Brewers could ill afford another player's absence. They placed third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the disabled list Saturday with a sprained left knee, and left fielder Ryan Braun missed all three games of the weekend series against Arizona because of a stiff neck. Braun appeared in the on-deck circle Sunday, but was unable to bat in the bottom of the 11th inning with two outs, a runner at third base and the Brewers trailing by a run.
In addition, the Brewers are already playing a man short on the bench, because they opted to start the season with 13 pitchers. That confluence of circumstances prompted Roenicke to handle Segura with caution.
"It tightened up some, and I thought it was better, looking at tomorrow and the next few days, getting him out of there instead of trying to keep him in that game and sacrificing the next few days," Roenicke said.
Brewers may opt to skip Fiers' next start
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers were still mulling their options Sunday for aligning the starting rotation through off-days on April 11, 15 and 25. The first decision will come later this week, when the Brewers have the option of skipping No. 5 starter Mike Fiers in the wake of his poor season debut on Saturday night.
The team's first turn through the rotation did not go well. Only Kyle Lohse logged a quality start, and through five games, Brewers pitchers ranked last in the National League with a .333 opponents' batting average.
"There's not a sense of urgency, but I never want to start off this way," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I guess I would like them to get locked in as soon as we can, but it's not a time to panic and worry about what we're doing.
"The only thing that comes up is all of these off-days and whether we should skip somebody in the rotation to keep the other guys more on line. Not because we don't like our fifth starter, but just because we're trying to figure out what helps the other guys."
Roenicke and pitching coach Rick Kranitz generally have kept their five starters in line, bumping everyone back when the team encounters off-days. But they were working with a much more experienced starting rotation over the past two seasons than the one the Brewers are featuring in 2013.
Lohse's schedule could be particularly impacted by the decision. He is scheduled to start Wednesday against the Cubs, and if the Brewers opt to keep all five pitchers in line, Lohse would not pitch again until April 17 -- seven days later.
Davis gets pranked after first career hit
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers newcomer Kyle Lohse had a little fun with Khris Davis on Saturday, a milestone night for the rookie outfielder.
Davis slid into the tarp for a terrific inning-ending catch to end the top of the second before logging his first Major League hit in the bottom of the frame, a double to right-center-field off D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin.
After the game, Lohse presented Davis with the baseball as a memento. He even inscribed it, only Lohse misspelled Davis' first name ("Chris"), included the wrong date and generally wrote with a first grader's penmanship.
Davis looked at the messed-up baseball and tried to act thankful.
"It had me for a while," Davis said.
Longtime clubhouse manager Tony Migliaccio came to the rescue with the real ball, already set in a display case labeled with the milestone and the correct date. Davis planned to give it to his mother. "I kind of knew it was going to happen in that AB," he said of the hit. "Sometimes you just know. I made that sliding catch and then I was coming up that inning, so I was like, OK."
• Triple-A Nashville first baseman Hunter Morris received his 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove Award from Minor League Baseball president Pat O'Conner in a pregame ceremony Sunday. Morris posted a .995 fielding percentage last season at Double-A Huntsville while winning Southern League Most Valuable Player honors.