3/19/2014 8:17 P.M. ET
Wang to continue bullpen bid with start vs. Rox
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rule 5 Draft pick Wei-Chung Wang will continue his bid for a spot in the Brewers' Opening Day bullpen with a start against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Wang, 21, has yet to walk a batter or allow an earned run in four Cactus League appearances spanning 8 1/3 innings. The Brewers view him as a starting-pitching prospect, but plucked Wang from Pittsburgh in December's Rule 5 Draft hoping to keep him in the bullpen for all of 2014 before inserting him into the organization's starting-pitching pipeline for 2015 and beyond.
It would be an unprecedented leap. Wang, who is from Taiwan, missed all of 2012 following Tommy John surgery and pitched in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2013.
"The longer he's here, the more he fits in," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's starting to understand English, although maybe he understood all along, I don't know. But the more he is around the guys and they accept him, it makes him feel more comfortable."
By rule, the Brewers will have to keep Wang on the 25-man roster all season or offer him back to Pittsburgh.
Brewers' bench plan coming into focus
PEORIA, Ariz. -- In the process of tabbing Mark Reynolds for a rare start in right field on Wednesday, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke all but spelled out the Brewers' plan for composing a 25-man Opening Day roster.
"Looking at what we could go into the season with, we're figuring we need to be versatile if we can help it," Roenicke said. "Say we go into it with two second basemen and two first basemen, if we can have somebody more versatile in those four, then it should help us."
In other words, the Brewers are leaning toward starting the season with Scooter Gennett and Rickie Weeks sharing time at second base, and Reynolds plus either Juan Francisco or Lyle Overbay at first. Since Martin Maldonado appears safe as the backup catcher and Logan Schafer as the fourth outfielder, only one spot would remain for a backup infielder with the ability to play shortstop. That race is down to Jeff Bianchi, Irving Falu and Elian Herrera, with Bianchi and Herrera the front-runners because of their shortstop experience.
Seeking additional options for the outfield, Roenicke approached Reynolds on the bench at Maryvale Baseball Park on Tuesday and asked whether he would give it a try. Reynolds played his only three Major League innings in the outfield as a D-backs rookie in 2007, but played 23 games in left field in the Minor Leagues and said he also saw outfield action in the Arizona Fall League.
On Wednesday morning, Reynolds was canvassing the clubhouse for an outfielder's glove. He wound up borrowing one from Bianchi.
"Got one on order already," Reynolds said after exiting the game. "They asked me two or three days ago if I could play and I was like, 'Yeah, why not?' … You just have to work on it, shag fly balls in [batting practice] and whatnot. Not being out there for so long, it's not very comfortable, but you figure it out."
He added: "As long as I get in the batter's box, I don't care."
Reynolds spent some time Wednesday working with third-base coach Ed Sedar, who along with John Shelby is in charge of outfield instruction. His biggest test came in the second inning, when Reynolds charged a Dustin Ackley RBI single and fired a throw home.
"He came up and threw the ball OK, pulled it a little bit, but charged it well and looked confident on the other balls he had," Roenicke said. "I was hoping there wouldn't be a lot of those hit to him, but he looked good. Again, I'm not looking for a guy to start a bunch of games, but to finish games and go out there and feel confident, I think he can do it."
• Bianchi is out of Minor League options and has been impressive this spring, batting .371 (13-for-35) with two doubles and a triple in his first 16 games. He was 2-for-4 against the Mariners, including an RBI single.
"He's got some competition," Roenicke said. "Both Falu and Herrera look good, but [Bianchi] has picked up his game and he's done a real nice job."
• The Brewers had hit 15 home runs in their first 20 games before belting seven in the past two days.
"It's nice to see Reynolds swing the bat like that," Roenicke said. "He gets a slider up [from Mariners starter Blake Beavan] that he hits a home run on, and then he got two strikes, they try to sneak a fastball in on him and he hits a double [against Beavan in the sixth inning]. Those are definitely things we like to see."