6/15/2014 2:51 P.M. ET
Gennett starring in leading role for Brewers
By Caitlin Swieca / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The way manager Ron Roenicke tells it, Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett was working on a more patient plate approach even before he moved into the leadoff hole last week.
Roenicke said they discussed the topic well before Gennett took over the top spot from scuffling shortstop Jean Segura. In his first four starts batting first entering Sunday's game against the Reds, Gennett was 7-for-16 with three doubles while seeing 4.8 pitches per plate appearance, well above his Major League career average of 3.45.
In three of those games, Gennett saw at least 20 pitches. His 13-pitch at-bat on Saturday night essentially knocked Reds starter Mat Latos out of the game after six scoreless innings, and helped the Brewers score two runs apiece in the seventh and eighth innings for a comeback win.
"It's not because of the leadoff spot," Roenicke said. "I had a discussion with him a week and a half ago about him being more selective with that first pitch. It doesn't make any sense at all to go up there and see a breaking ball, a good breaking ball, and swing at it, hit a ground ball and make an out.
"It makes no sense at all, your first at-bat of the game. What are you going to do your second at-bat? Are you going to go up there, probably 'take,' and then it's going to be a fastball right down the middle and you're taking it. So the discussions I had with him are more on just being selective; it's not because he's leading off."
Gennett was open to adjustments.
"This guy can really hit," Roenicke said. "He really can. But if he ever becomes a guy that understands the strike zone, he's going to hit over .300. It's like the old Ted Williams box with the batting averages. If you can show a guy that, 'You hit .200 here and you want to swing at the first pitch, and yet you hit .400 here, why wouldn't you wait for the .400 pitch instead of trying to hit this one on the corner?'"
• Roenicke has seen the strike zone tighten in recent seasons as technology leads to additional grading of umpires. He'd like to see things expanded a bit.
"I like the borderline being called a strike, and I like the low one being called a strike," Roenicke said. "That's what you're teaching pitchers, to throw the ball down. And you get a pitch that's at the knees and you can clearly see on the replay when you get a side view of it, you can see it's easily ... you know, it's the hollow of the knee, which is really below that kneecap, and we see balls going right across the top of the kneecap called balls all the time."
For pitchers who are interested, the Brewers have detailed scouting reports available on various umpires' tendencies.
• Wily Peralta re-joined the Brewers on Sunday after spending recent days tending to a family matter in the Dominican Republic. He said he was mentally and physically ready to start Monday's series opener in Arizona.
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.