9/23/2013 7:23 P.M. ET
Brewers hope Francisco's new stance pays dividends
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Juan Francisco, whose extended second-half slump has called into question whether he will fit the Brewers' plan for 2014, debuted a significant change to his hitting approach on Sunday night that manager Ron Roenicke believes will play dividends in the future.
Appearing as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, Francisco eliminated the leg kick that has preceded his swing -- a swing that has produced 134 strikeouts and 18 home runs in 338 at-bats between the Braves and Brewers this season. It was up to Roenicke and Brewers hitting coach Johnny Narron to convince Francisco to make an adjustment.
"Johnny showed him some film of some of these great hitters," Roenicke said. "He showed him [Albert] Pujols and how he goes with that wide stance, doesn't stride. These big guys, if you look at a lot of them, they don't do much. There's hardly any action going on. Look at [Joey] Votto, there's not much going on. David Ortiz, there's not a whole lot going on. He likes [Blue Jays slugger Edwin] Encarnacion because they're friends. Encarnacion has a little leg kick, but it's just up and down real quick.
"A lot of these big, strong guys are really quiet, really simple. I think he should be one of those guys that's able to do that. He's so strong, he's still going to hit balls 500 feet doing that, but he's going to square them up more often."
Who approached whom?
"Well, sometimes you can wait around and wait for the player to come to you, and sometimes you're proactive. We needed to be proactive," Roenicke said. "We had talked at the very beginning about it, and it's not just us. He's got his own teammates telling him the same thing. The guys that he respects and listens to, they're telling him the same thing."
Francisco, acquired from Atlanta in early June and converted from third base to first, has seen his playing time diminish dramatically in recent weeks due to a long slump. Since a two-homer game at Texas on Aug. 14, Francisco went 7-for-59 with one home run, two RBIs and a whopping 30 strikeouts.
The Brewers hope Francisco continues working on the adjustment in the Dominican Winter League. He is committed to play for Licey.
In his pinch-hit at-bat on Sunday night, Francisco grounded out sharply to first base.
"I don't know -- that was a really good at-bat," Roenicke said. "He saw the ball well and he ended up smoking a ball for an out, but he hit it well. I think if he does that, I'm excited about that stance and what I think can happen with that stance."
Nelson to replace Peralta if blister doesn't heal
ATLANTA -- Rookie right-hander Jimmy Nelson will replace Wily Peralta on Saturday if a blister on Peralta's right index finger forces him to miss his final scheduled start.
Peralta received treatment on Monday, a day after experiencing wildness in the late stages of his five-inning outing against the Cardinals at Miller Park. Asked whether he expects to make his final start, Peralta shrugged and said, "We'll see."
"What I really don't want … is if he goes back out there and goes through the same thing he went through yesterday," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I was glad he went out there and he continued to try to pitch and get through it. But that first inning, the stuff that I saw from him, that was going to be some kind of ballgame. I mean, he came out 96, 97, 98 [mph] and I was looking at him going, 'Wow.' I really would have liked to have seen if he didn't have the finger issue what he would have done. But because of it, I don't want him to struggle with it in the next one. So, we'll figure that out."
Peralta indicated he has been battling a blister on that finger all month. In his first full season in the Major Leagues, he is 11-15 with a 4.37 ERA in 32 starts and 183 1/3 innings.
"If Peralta doesn't make it out there, I'm curious to see Jimmy Nelson," Roenicke said, referring to the 24-year-old who has made three appearances so far in a September callup.
Lohse set to reach 190-innings incentive
ATLANTA -- Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki earned a $250,000 bonus when he made his 140th start of the season on Monday, and right-hander Kyle Lohse is poised to earn $350,000 more when he records his first out on Wednesday against the Braves.
The three-year, $33 million contract Lohse signed at the end of Spring Training includes an annual $350,000 incentive for reaching 190 innings pitched.
"If I do my job all year, that's a level of innings I should get," Lohse said. "It hasn't been a major concern. It's not a benchmark I'm shooting for because of incentives. I would have liked to get to 200 [innings], and I know if I would have had the extra start I would have. But there are more important things, like getting to see some of the young guys."
Lohse lost one start in September when the Brewers moved to a six-man rotation. He is 10-10 with a 3.51 ERA in 31 starts this season and leads the team with 189 2/3 innings pitched. Lohse's only speed bump came in May, when he was 0-4 with a 6.51 ERA while dealing with discomfort in his right elbow, perhaps a side effect of his severely shortened Spring Training.
"I felt like I was pretty consistent minus that," Lohse said. "I'm personally proud that I prepared well enough on my own that I could go out and throw 190 innings. I know what I need to do. But, obviously, my goals are more team-oriented than personal stats or whatever, and we didn't reach that this year."
• Brewers manager Ron Roenicke remained upbeat about the possibility of using injured shortstop Jean Segura at some point this week at Turner Field. Segura missed a fifth consecutive start on Monday.
"Some progress [Sunday]," Roenicke said. "He was really good in the batting cage, ran with Josh [Seligman, the team's strength and conditioning coordinator] at about 80 percent today and was good. He took a while to get loose, and then was good. So, hopefully by Wednesday we can use him off the bench, and then we'll see what happens in [the subsequent series in] New York."