MILWAUKEE -- Ron Roenicke has shown extreme patience with his slumping second baseman, but decided on Friday that it was time for some changes.Roenicke dropped Rickie Weeks to sixth in the batting order for Friday's Interleague opener against the Twins, a move the manager had previously resisted, based on conversations with the player.
But after going 1-for-5 against the Astros on Thursday night, Weeks had two hits in his last 32 at-bats, a National League-worst .156 batting average and an NL-worst 49 strikeouts."I think it was the right time to do it," Roenicke said. Right fielder Corey Hart moved up from the fifth to leadoff -- a spot he has handled with success in the past -- and center fielder Norichika Aoki batted second. Weeks had hit in both of those spots this season, after expressing a desire to bat near the top of the order. Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez were in there usual spots, hitting third and fourth. Red-hot catcher Jonathan Lucroy hit fifth for the first day in his career, followed by Weeks. "You have to work your way through," Weeks said. "You can't just sit there and pout about it." Weeks said he understood the thinking behind Friday's shuffle. "You have to start something with a team that's scuffling a little bit," Weeks said. "We just have to go out there and try to shake some things up. These are things you have to deal with, and get through this. ... You have to go back to the basics.
"There are some things I couldn't really control, where I was trying to overcompensate for some things. The biggest thing is, try to go back to the basics and go from there. That's what I'm doing."Weeks declined to talk about his conversation with Roenicke before Friday's lineup was posted. Roenicke said it was positive, calling Weeks "a team player." "Even though he's got a lot of pride and he knows he's going to hit, he was OK with being moved," Roenicke said. "I don't like to [move players in the lineup] a lot. But once guys start hitting like they should, we'll see where everybody slots in that makes the most sense." The Brewers were 16-22 going into Friday's game. They ranked ninth out of 16 National League teams in runs scored, thanks in large part to 42 home runs, second-most in the league. But the Brewers were 11th in on-base percentage and 14th in batting average. "This isn't Rick's fault, what we're doing offensively," Roenicke said. "It's the whole group. Offensively, we're not good as a group."
Former teammate Ramirez lauds Cubs' Wood
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez watched on a clubhouse television at Miller Park as one of his favorite former teammates left baseball with a flourish.Cubs right-hander Kerry Wood, who burst onto the scene with a 20-strikeout game in 1998 before injuries forced him into relief, struck out the only batter he faced Friday on three pitches and then called it a career.
Wood walked off the mound at Wrigley Field to a standing ovation."If you're going to go out, you go out like that," Ramirez said. "It's the White Sox, with a full house. It was great. It was emotional just to watch. He was my teammate for a while in Chicago, seven, eight years, and you can't find a better teammate."
Kerry Wood calls it a career
Wood struck out 1,582 batters in 1,380 career innings. His 10.32 strikeouts per nine innings is second-best in baseball history among pitchers who worked at least 1,000 innings, trailing only Randy Johnson."When healthy, he was one of the toughest pitchers in the game," Ramirez said. "The numbers back that up. He could have done a lot more things if he would have stayed healthy. He was on the [disabled list] a lot.
"That's one of the reasons he is going out right now. I don't think he's feeling well, even though he threw the ball well today. His arm is bothering him. It's just time. Your body tells you when it's time to go on, and I guess his body couldn't hold up anymore."Ramirez had 27 career at-bats against Wood, mostly when Ramirez was breaking into the Majors with the Pirates. "That wasn't fun, facing him back then," Ramirez said.
Center fielder Carlos Gomez hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the eighth inning for Class A Wisconsin on Friday, his only hit in the third game of his four-game rehabilitation assignment.
Gomez, who is coming back from a left hamstring strain, served as the designated hitter on Friday, but is expected to play the field on Saturday before re-joining the Brewers' active roster on Sunday, when he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list.
"This gives him a little bit of a break and still get his at-bats," Roenicke said before Friday's game. "We'll just see how that goes whether I start him [Sunday] or not. But he will be active. He's doing good."
It appears Gomez sparked some drama on Friday. The first pitch after his homer hit Wisconsin's Max Walla, leading to the ejections of Burlington pitcher Drew Tyson and manager Aaron Nieckula.
Right-hander Shaun Marcum reported feeling slightly sore on Friday after a pregame scare nearly scuttled his Thursday start in Houston. Marcum felt cramping along his rib cage, but pitched as scheduled and took the loss after allowing four runs on nine hits in five innings."He's a little sore today, but hopefully that works itself out in the next couple days," Roenicke said. "We're not planning on him missing [a start], but we'll see how he feels in the next couple days." Injured first baseman Mat Gamel, out with a torn ACL in his right knee, was to visit on Friday with team physician William Raasch to determine whether Gamel is ready for surgery. Doctors have been waiting for swelling to subside in the joint. Gamel has MCL damage and a bone injury in his knee, but those will heal without surgery. The ACL requires a fix that will sideline Gamel for the rest of the season.