7/14/2013 4:39 P.M. ET
Aoki takes trade speculation as compliment
By Jose M. Romero / Special to MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki has been the leadoff batter in 85 of the club's 94 first-half games and has enjoyed some success, batting .292 entering Sunday with 19 runs batted in and 10 stolen bases. That has the Texas Rangers interested in acquiring him, according to recent reports.
Aoki said he was aware of the reports and shed some light on the nature of baseball trades in his native Japan as opposed to Major League Baseball.
"Over here, teams trade for you because they want you," Aoki said through translator Kosuke Inaji. "In Japan, there's a negative aspect about getting traded."
As in, teams in Japan tend to trade a player because they do not want him on the team. But the perception is changing, Aoki said.
Aoki is happy playing for the Brewers but appreciates that his abilities are being noticed.
"You could say I'm happy that people see me as a player they want," he said.
Challenging first half wears on Roenicke
PHOENIX -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was asked to describe the team's 37-56 first half before Sunday's game against Arizona in one word.
"Besides frustrating?" Roenicke said prior to the team's last game before the All-Star break. "Disappointing. It's been a hard half. Nothing seems to go right. The injuries, and some guys performing great. Some guys have been really fun to watch. Other guys have just struggled."
Roenicke acknowledged that the mounting losses had taken a bit of a toll on him personally.
"It hasn't been as fun, and it hasn't been as easy," Roenicke said of managing this year's Brewers, his third season at the helm. "It's a lot more thought into it; it's way more conversations. Way more challenges."
Roenicke wanted the challenge of being a manager when he decided he wanted to guide a team.
"I don't know if I wanted this much," he said.
The Brewers spent 45 days alone or tied for fourth place in the NL Central and will have spent 49 in last place, where they currently stand, after Sunday's game. That's 94 out 105 days in the first half of the season.
After a 14-11 April, Milwaukee lost 16 of 28 games in May and has not recovered.
Roenicke sees All-Stars as potential leaders
PHOENIX -- The Brewers' two All-Stars, veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez and 23-year-old shortstop Jean Segura, are the "energy" in the team's lineup and set the tone, manager Ron Roenicke said, and could be clubhouse leaders in the future.
"You need guys like that on the team," Roenicke said. "He [Segura] doesn't always do it; there's some times when I've had to say something to him, but his normal play has got a lot of energy in it."
Gomez was the team's home runs, doubles and triples leader as of Saturday night, even though he got off to a rough start at the plate this season and has began struggling again there lately. But he has played an outstanding defensive center field on a consistent basis.
"Gomez will learn along the way; with the performance and the energy and what they do, these guys become your leaders," Roenicke said. "And they have a responsibility that when you're that type of player and people are looking up to you, you've got to do things a little bit better than most."
• Starting pitcher Marco Estrada was scratched from his bullpen session Sunday because he was still feeling tightness in his lower back.
• Gomez and Segura were scheduled to leave for New York and the All-Star festivities after Sunday's game.
"I told them just to have fun," Roenicke said. "Have fun and enjoy it, because you don't know if that'll be the only one they get to do."
• Injured first baseman Corey Hart was with the team Sunday. Hart, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a torn meniscus in his right knee, will have season-ending surgery later this month on his left knee after injuring it during rehabilitation.
"He's very happy with his last surgery; he's very happy with what the doctor had told him and thinks by December, by Christmas, he'll be pretty free to go," Roenicke said.
Jose M. Romero is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.