2/23/2014 2:03 P.M. ET
Jenkins shares outfield experience with Braun
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Geoff Jenkins, who knows all about making a mid-career move from left field to right, believes Ryan Braun will fare quite well in the transition.
Jenkins arrived at Maryvale Baseball Park on Sunday to begin a week-long stint as a special instructor in Brewers camp. It will give him some time to talk about the intricacies of right field with Braun, who has manned left field at Miller Park for the last six seasons.
"There's obviously some different footwork out there, and you use the spin move more when balls carom off the wall down the line, and the throws from right field are a little lengthier," Jenkins said. "But at the end of the day it's just about getting to the ball quick, releasing the ball quick and hitting the cutoff man.
"I actually thought right field was easier. Left field is harder."
Jenkins found, for example, that opposite-field line drives hit by left-handed hitters tended to slice sharply toward the left-field line. In right, similar line drives from right-handed hitters tended to stay more true.
One adjustment Braun will need to make, Jenkins said, involves medium fly balls to right field that get lost in the lights. For some reason, the problem is less an issue in left field.
Braun is poised to pass Jenkins on some of Milwaukee's all-time leaderboards. Jenkins ranks third in Brewers history with 212 home runs, one ahead of Braun entering the season. Jenkins is also fourth with 704 RBIs as a Brewer (Braun is sixth at 681) and fifth with 661 runs scored (Braun is seventh at 644).
Braun is making the switch in part to open playing time for Khris Davis, a promising young hitter who does not have the arm for right field. Like Braun, Jenkins had been the Brewers' regular left fielder for six seasons before switching to right field for the 2005 season after the Brewers traded for slugger Carlos Lee.
"I did what was right for the team," Jenkins said. "With Carlos Lee coming in, it was a big deal for us to get a good hitter in the middle of the lineup. And at the end of the day, it was just, 'Go catch the ball. Play your position.'
"In a weird way, I thought it was kind of fun to make the switch. Sometimes changing can be scary, but I took it as a positive."
Other special instructors will follow Jenkins later in camp, including Hall of Famer Robin Yount, who annually makes an appearance, and Wisconsin native and former Brewers catcher Damian Miller, who will be a first-time attendee. Miller will work on both the Major League and Minor League side, manager Ron Roenicke said.
Crew coaches to learn more about expanded replay
PHOENIX -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is looking forward to meeting with other managers and club officials in Scottsdale on Monday afternoon with representatives from Major League Baseball, who will shed more light on the expanded replay system being instituted this season.
Roenicke is very eager to hear details of the challenge system, which to this point has been discussed only in broad terms. He plans to have one coach on his staff, probably John Shelby, serve as the point man on choosing when to challenge, but has held off setting firm plans until hearing from MLB precisely how the system will work.
"I'm not uncomfortable about the [pending rules changes governing home plate collisions], but I'm uncomfortable about the replay," Roenicke said. "You know, you've got enough to focus on with what's going on out there, and to have to worry about all this stuff with the replay, and what to challenge and what not to… I enjoy managing games, not umpiring."
Make no mistake: Roenicke believes it is entirely appropriate for the league to expand instant replay.
"I don't think that you have to go to a challenge [system], but I think replay is here and it should be here," Roenicke said. "We've got all this camera work and this technology; we should be using it. I just don't know if a challenge system in baseball is the way to do that, but we'll see."
Monday's meeting is at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the spring home of the D-backs and Rockies. Extra cameras were installed there last year so the replay system could be tested during the Arizona Fall League.
Even when he gains a full understanding of how the system will work, Roenicke will have to discuss with his coaches a philosophy of when to challenge a call.
"According to what they tell us about how many plays are missed in games, it really doesn't come up as often as you think it does," Roenicke said. "So I think we have to kind of feel our way through this and figure out, is it best to just challenge a play when it happens, regardless of whether it's in the first inning, regardless of whether there's two outs and nobody on base?"
Shelby, bench coach Jerry Narron, general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash are among the other Brewers officials set to attend Monday's meeting.
• Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez also thinks Braun will fare just fine in his move from left field to right.
"Ryan [could] play center field. He's an athlete," Gomez said. "He was an infielder [before moving to the outfield], and I don't think the move from left field to right field, he's going to feel it at all. That guy can play anywhere and not complain about it."
• Brewers closer Jim Henderson was up before 5 a.m. MT Sunday to watch the gold medal game in men's hockey at the Winter Olympics. His Team Canada defeated an undermanned Sweedish team, 3-0 -- three days after the Canadian women beat the Americans for gold medals of their own. Henderson watched the first two periods of the men's final at his apartment, then raced to Maryvale Baseball Park to catch the end of the game.
"Nice way to start the day," he said. "I think the real gold medal game was the semifinal against the U.S.A. [on Friday, a 1-0 win for Canada]. Sweeden was missing some of their star players. But it was great, I take a lot of pride in it."