DETROIT -- The most prolonged slump of Scooter Gennett's brief big league career on Monday prompted a demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs, where the Brewers hope their Opening Day second baseman can rediscover the swing that carried him to the Major Leagues in the first place.
"I told him we don't have a time frame," general manager Doug Melvin said. "I said, 'I would like to think you're going to be back in a couple of weeks, but don't hold me to it, because if you're not performing well, it won't happen. If you're performing well and playing good defense, it could happen.'"
With three Interleague games on tap against the potent Tigers, and less emphasis on bench bats because the designated hitter will be in use, the Brewers used the open roster spot to recall reliever Corey Knebel from Triple-A. Knebel had been serving as the Sky Sox's closer, with six saves with a 4.70 ERA in 16 appearances.
Melvin and manager Craig Counsell delivered the news to Gennett in person on Sunday night. Hector Gomez started at second base on Monday, though Counsell said the Brewers would ride a hot hand at the position, with Gomez, Elian Herrera and Luis Sardinas available to cover second base and shortstop while Jean Segura is on the disabled list with a broken finger and Gennett is in the Minors.
Gennett entered the year a career .300 hitter in his first two Major League seasons, but is batting .154 this season with a .203 on-base percentage. He has one hit in his last 26 at-bats, though Counsell said, "It's not [only] the batting average … it's the whole picture."
"Craig and I talked to him last night in the hotel room, and just told him he needed to go down and get his entire game together, both offense and defense," Melvin said. "He understood. He took it fine. I told him we talked about it a week to 10 days ago, and we gave him the benefit of the doubt because of the way he performed last year. …
"Other players have had to [go down to the Minors]. We did it with Rickie Weeks one time. The Cardinals did it with Kolten Wong a year or two ago. [Gennett] is a .290 career hitter in the big leagues, so he should be able to find it. First of all, you've got to get your confidence back and feel good about yourself."
When will the Brewers know when it's time to summon him back?
"Consistency," Melvin said.
"My goal is that Scooter goes [down] and he's back shortly," Counsell said. "I'd like to be writing his name in the lineup shortly. But it's important that he get on track. He's had long stretches in the big leagues where he's been a very good player, offensively and defensively. That's who I want to see."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.