6/22/2014 2:54 P.M. ET
Gennett solidifying claim on Brewers' leadoff role
By Cody Ulm / MLB.com
DENVER -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke's confidence in second baseman Scooter Gennett has been steadily climbing since he made his first Opening Day roster this season -- and who could blame him?
Gennett's .317 batting average is the highest among players with a minimum of 80 percent of their first 137 games played at second base in the last 100 years, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Furthermore, only three players, Dan Uggla, Ian Kinsler and Joe Gordon, have had a higher slugging percentage than Gennett's .475 under the same requirements.
Gennett's production has earned him the lion's share of at-bats at second base and even a recent promotion to the top of the order. But that hasn't stopped Roenicke from starting Rickie Weeks over Gennett the past two days with two left-handers on the mound for the Rockies.
That trend could end soon though.
"Scooter is a guy who eventually I'd like to see out there against some left-handers," said Roenicke. "I think he's getting more confident against the left-handers. He can hit. There's no reason why he can't hit left-handers."
Only 29 of Gennett's 225 at-bats this season have come against southpaws, resulting in four hits and eight strikeouts. Left-handers have also forced Gennett to ground into two double plays this season. By comparison, Gennett has only grounded into three double plays in 196 at-bats against right-handers in 2014.
But Roenicke feels the opportunity for Gennett to hit leadoff for the Brewers in his last nine starts will help him take more quality at-bats against any type of pitcher.
"Maybe he ends up being a leadoff hitter for years, I don't really know," said Roenicke. "But I think what he's doing right now is going to help him in the future no matter where he's hitting in the lineup. It's forced him to really look at pitches and concentrate more instead being up there just as a free-swinger like he was."
Gennett doesn't mind his platoon role with Weeks. He's just happy to be back in the one-hole, a spot where he had a majority of his at-bats in the Minors.
"I've had a lot of time in the leadoff role prior to the big leagues," said Gennett. "So that's where I'm comfortable."
With the seventh highest batting average and the eighth most doubles (20) in the National League, Gennett relishes the pressure that's part of his table-setting role.
"You can set the tone with a good at-bat or a base hit and I'm more than happy to do so," said Gennett. "It's really exciting to get things started like that. Obviously when I don't get on base I feel terrible, but that's just a part of the game."
Aramis back in lineup day after feeling back tightness
DENVER -- Manager Ron Roenicke was quick to downplay the back tightness that forced Aramis Ramirez to remove himself late in the Brewers' 9-5 win over the Rockies Saturday.
As it turns out, he had good reason.
Ramirez was right back in the lineup Sunday for the series finale against the Rockies. Batting fifth for the Brewers Sunday, Ramirez hit a home run off left-hander Tyler Matzek in his first at-bat.
Roenicke confirmed Ramirez's back was OK one day after he approached the Brewers' skipper in the dugout with mild concern about some tightness. Roenicke ultimately pinch-hit Elian Herrera for Ramirez in the ninth inning and left him in the game at third.
Ramirez has been heating up on the tail end of this road trip, hitting 8-for-13 with five runs, five RBI, two doubles and one home run over the last three games.
He previously missed three weeks with a left hamstring strain earlier this season. Entering Sunday, he has hit .369 (24-for-65) with four home runs and 15 RBIs since being activated from the disabled list
Roenicke admitted some apprehension with how much he has been riding Ramirez lately, but not enough to remove his bat from the lineup.
"I think any time you're on a long stretch and you go on the road for this many games, you have to be a little concerned," said Roenicke. "He comes back off the hamstring [injury] and basically has been out there every day."
Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.