6/4/2013 3:11 A.M. ET
Brewers hope Francisco can bring pop to first base
By Adam McCalvy and Kevin Massoth / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers traded for Braves infielder Juan Francisco on Monday with the hope he can bring some thump to first base, where production has been lacking.
The Brewers are used to having a big hitter at that position -- Prince Fielder was a mainstay from 2006-11, and Corey Hart filled-in admirably in 2012 -- but with Hart on the disabled list, the team entered Monday ranked 14th of 15 National League teams with a .516 OPS from first base. Francisco has never played first in the Major Leagues, but told general manager Doug Melvin he was comfortable there, and that was enough for the Brewers.
Francisco has 14 home runs in 300 at-bats over the past two seasons with the Braves.
Yuniesky Betancourt played first base in Monday's 10-2 loss to Oakland and was 0-for-3.
The Brewers fleetingly discussed another option at first: Third baseman Aramis Ramirez, whose mobility remains limited because of an early-season knee injury. But that idea never progressed.
"We never asked him," Melvin said. "We brought it up one time, but this is a player that potentially could be putting up Hall of Fame numbers as a third baseman if he gets numbers to go in as a third baseman. So that's something we wouldn't necessarily consider at this point."
Gennett, Weeks to platoon at second base
MILWAUKEE -- Second base prospect Scooter Gennett joined the Brewers on Monday and will form a loose, lefty/righty platoon with incumbent Rickie Weeks, manager Ron Roenicke said.
Weeks started Monday against A's left-hander Tommy Milone, and Gennett's first Major League start could come Tuesday against right-hander A.J. Griffin.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him," Roenicke said of Gennett, who pinch-hit in the ninth inning of Monday's 10-2 loss to Oakland and grounded out to the pitcher. "He's got some energy, which I like and I think we need. I think anytime you bring in guys who have a lot of energy -- [Jean] Segura-type energy -- I think it's good for your club."
Roenicke said playing time between Gennett and Weeks will not be based strictly on the throwing arm of the opposing pitcher, as Weeks will still see time against some right-handers. But with the arrival of Gennett, Weeks' already diminished playing time will lessen further. But on cue, Weeks drilled his fourth homer of the year in the fifth inning on Monday, and would have had another if not for a replay review that made his seventh-inning drive a triple.
"We saw [Gennett] in Spring Training and we knew early on that he was a good hitter," Roenicke said. "Everybody thought that he would hit in the big leagues."
Gennett said he arrived in Milwaukee at noon CT on Monday and headed straight to Miller Park. He batted .297 with one home run, 13 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 50 games at Nashville.
"I'm excited to get out there and start playing," Gennett said. "Whenever that time is, I'll be ready and excited to go out there and play. I would say that I probably have a decent opportunity to get some playing time."
Gennett was selected to the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City and hit for the cycle in a Spring Training game last year. He was born in Cincinnati and has a lot of family in Ohio and Indiana but said, "I don't think they're Reds fans anymore."
"Having the opportunity to go to big league camp and get to know everybody and get an idea of what your daily routine's going to be, it makes you feel a little bit better and confident that you're going to know what you're doing," Gennett said. "I still have to learn some things and get used to this routine here. I'm just really excited."
Henderson 'confident' he can return on Sunday
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers closer Jim Henderson felt "real confident" on Monday that he will be ready to pitch by Sunday, the first day he is eligible to come off the disabled list after two weeks nursing a strained right hamstring.
Henderson is scheduled to play catch again Tuesday, throw a bullpen session Wednesday and either a simulated inning or an appearance at a Minor League affiliate on Friday.
"I feel like I could go pitch effectively now," said Henderson after playing catch on Monday. "But the intensity will ramp up with the bullpens and stuff, so just make sure that's OK."
The right-hander suffered his first ever hamstring injury at the release point of a ninth-inning pitch against the Pirates on May 24. Henderson will return to his closer's role with a perfect nine saves in nine opportunities and a sparkling 0.92 ERA.
Right-handed starter Hiram Burgos will not be ready to come off the DL when he is eligible to on Thursday. Burgos was placed on the 15-day DL on May 24 with a right shoulder impingement.
Figaro to replace demoted Fiers in rotation
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers picked right-hander Alfredo Figaro to replace the demoted Mike Fiers in the starting rotation, opting to pluck an arm from the bullpen rather than a prospect from the Minor Leagues.
In doing so, they passed over two hard-throwing right-handers, Triple-A Nashville's Johnny Hellweg and Double-A Huntsville's Jimmy Nelson for a promotion that might have been temporary, since left-hander Chris Narveson is nearing a return from a sprained finger. Narveson is scheduled to make his second rehabilitation start at Nashville on Tuesday, and could need only one more outing after that before he is reinstated.
"I don't want to be doing that, experimenting with our young guys," general manager Doug Melvin said. "I don't want to make evaluations based on short periods."
Melvin prefers a patient approach with prospects like Hellweg and Nelson, as opposed to a move like the one the Brewers made last June with right-hander Tyler Thornburg. He was pitching well at Huntsville before the promotion, but lost to the Blue Jays and then struggled in a second half spent jettisoning back and forth between Milwaukee and Nashville. So far this season, Thornburg is 0-7 with a 6.25 ERA in 12 Triple-A starts.
Fiers was optioned to Triple-A on Monday amid a flurry of moves, and Figaro will replace him beginning Friday against the Phillies.
"When he's come in, he's done a pretty good job for us, and he's stretched out to a point," manager Ron Roenicke said of Figaro. "Nobody in Triple-A is lighting it up to where we're saying, 'Let's bring him up.'"
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.