4/12/2014 9:28 P.M. ET
Reynolds becoming mainstay in lineup
By JR Radcliffe / Special to MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- One night after his prodigious 440-foot home run served as one of the key offensive moments for the Brewers, first baseman Mark Reynolds was back in the lineup Saturday facing a right-hander. Though the Brewers initially appeared to be implementing a platoon with Reynolds and Lyle Overbay, it's Reynolds who has started in seven straight games, including four against right-handers.
Reynolds also made a pair of strong defensive plays at first base Friday in the team's win over the Pirates, making a nifty scoop to rob Neil Walker of a base hit and initiating a 3-6-3 double play.
"I take pride in it," Reynolds said of his defense. "It's something I work at daily, to get better over there and try to do the best I can with the opportunities that are presented."
Reynolds has committed his share of errors over his career, largely coming at third base, and holds only a .963 fielding percentage as a result. But he hasn't looked challenged at first base.
"He's diving for balls, made a great turn," said manager Ron Roenicke. "I heard some things that he was pretty good, and I think the errors were really more his throwing, but he's got really good hands. He's got good range side to side ... I'm not surprised, but I really like what he's doing."
It also helps that Reynolds has a .985 OPS heading into Saturday, though Roenicke did say he expected to give Overbay a start Sunday.
Rodriguez locking down ninth-inning duties
MILWAUKEE -- Ron Roenicke has been on hand to witness many of Francisco Rodriguez's 307 career saves, so it's natural to think the Brewers' manager feels a sense of comfort in bringing K-Rod out for the ninth inning. Thus far, there hasn't been any reason to feel anything less.
Rodriguez has fanned eight of the last nine batters he's seen, and he's allowed just one batter to reach -- a Justin Upton single on Opening Day -- in five shutdown innings. Rodriguez has taken a firm hold on a closer's role that technically remains open for discussion.
"Even though I still don't think he's built up the fastball to where it's going to get to, he's still got really good life on it and he locates it well, and his offspeed pitches are great," Roenicke said. "With Frankie, because he's got such good stuff and he throws any pitch in any count, there's usually a walk in there somewhere. And he's coming out and throwing strikes. He's getting a lot of foul balls on his fastball and he's painting to get some freezes on strikeouts."
Rodriguez has 11 strikeouts and zero walks in his five innings of work. The last time he struck out at least 11 batters over five appearances, without yielding at least one walk in that same stretch, was 2004. Roenicke was there for that, part of the Angels' coaching staff from 2000-10, a tenure that corresponded with Rodriguez's six full seasons with the club.
"His breaking ball is different than when he first came to the big leagues," Roenicke said. "It was more of a shorter, harder slider. It still had some big depth to it, but it was thrown hard. Last year, he probably pitched from 90 to 92 [miles per hour], but the thing is, he came up with the changeup, too. The last year he was in Anaheim, he came up with the changeuep, and the first day he threw it, it was a strikeout changeup."
Rodriguez, who signed a one-year free-agent contract to return to Milwaukee, got a late jump on camp when a visa issue kept him in Venezuela, but he caught up quickly at Spring Training.
"Coming into camp, I was expecting just to get my work in and try to catch up with the guys because of the visa issue, trying to catch up to them and get as much work in as possible and let the rest take care of itself," Rodriguez said. "I wasn't thinking middle reliever, I wasn't thinking setup or closer. I was just coming in hoping to get as much work as possible and see how it goes.
"Right now, I have pretty good command of all of it. If you can throw strikes with any pitch and throw it the way you want to, things are going to be easy for you."
Though Jim Henderson was tentatively expected to open the season as the club's closer, Roenicke summoned Rodriguez to grab the save on Opening Day. Henderson, who threw a scoreless inning Friday and seems to have rediscovered lost speed on his fastball, has yet to allow a run this season. But the job appears to be Rodriguez's to lose.
"That's kind of what happened with Henderson and [John] Axford," Roenicke said, referring to the 2013 season. "Henderson kind of went into [Axford's] spot and was lights out, and all of a sudden Ax started throwing really well. They were in the same position."
Henderson and Rodriguez are both primary reasons why the Brewers' bullpen led the Majors with a 0.91 ERA and .149 opponent batting average entering Saturday. The 'pen had struck out 40 batters in just shy of 30 innings.
"I say, 'Frankie do you need a day off?' and he'll look at the schedule and see when our next scheduled day off is,'" Roenicke said. "He has to throw six days to know he's going good. Sometimes that makes me a little nervous, but I know he's there every day. Now I just worry about [innings] six, seven, eight.
Brewers place Kintzler on disabled list
MILWAUKEE -- Reliever Brandon Kintzler became the first in-season member of the disabled list on Saturday, when he was placed on the 15-day DL with what the club is calling a mild strain of his right rotator cuff. Kintzler, who has allowed no runs on two hits in five innings this season, hasn't pitched since April 8, in Boston.
The team was set to recall Rob Wooten, who has three saves in as many attempts without allowing a hit for Triple-A Nashville. Wooten posted a 3.86 ERA in 11 2/3 innings during Spring Training, and a 3-1 record and 3.90 ERA in 27 games out of the Milwaukee bullpen last season.
Kintzler downplayed the severity of the ailment.
"I've been kind of battling through it the last two weeks," Kintzler said. "It just got to a point where I got tired of battling it. It's a long season; it'll be a quick fix. I was able to loosen it up by game time ... but playing catch during the day just wasn't really good. I got tired of grinding through it every day trying to get ready for a game in April."
Kintzler was able to maintain his velocity in his last outing despite the ailment.
"When adrenaline takes over, I don't feel it," he said. "It's just a matter of getting over the cold and getting to the point of getting to that point. I don't want to grind through the whole year of worrying about it. It's nice and calm, and it'll be done before we know it."
Kintzler, one of many options at manager Ron Roenicke's disposal for high-leverage, late-inning situations, said that the strain has already calmed in the four days since he last worked. He indicated that it was right under the armpit, near the lat muscle.
"Obviously, I want to join the party," he said. "Hopefully, I'll be back for a bigger party."
• The Brewers elected to use their retro pinstriped jerseys Saturday, a look usually reserved for the first Friday home game each month.
• Center fielder Carlos Gomez received his 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove in a ceremony before Saturday's game. Gomez is the franchise's first Gold Glove winner since Robin Yount in 1982.
• Reynolds hit his third home run of the year Friday night and has 188 since 2008 -- the fifth-best total in the big leagues in that window, behind Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Adam Dunn.
• Yovani Gallardo entered Saturday's start with 12 2/3 scoreless innings to his name. Jim Slaton (20 innings in 1976 and 16 in 1977) holds the top two spots for scoreless starts to the season in franchise history.
• Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he felt shortstop Jean Segura was past the shaky infield defense that tripped him up during the team's recent trip to Boston.
"Siggy feels really good with his arm," Roenicke said. "I think it still has something to do with the weather. You're slow to react when the weather's different, out there shivering, and all of a sudden you have to make a less-than-a-second decision of what you're going to do. It gets tough."
Segura missed the home stretch of the team's exhibition schedule with an ailing shoulder, but has started nine games this season.
JR Radcliffe is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.