Carter refining his approach at plate

New first baseman looking to cut down on strikeouts

Carter refining his approach at plate

PHOENIX -- Chris Carter has often been referred to as a boom or bust hitter, a player with the power to hit the ball out of any park at any time, but also with a tendency to strike out.

The good news is Carter has hit 24 or more homers in each of the past three seasons, including a career-high 37 in 2014. The bad news is he has also struck out at least 150 times each year of that span -- something he is actively working to reduce.

"Just trying to get a better pitch to hit, not swinging at pitcher's pitches when I get in those counts -- like the slider away that I used to swing at," Carter said.

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To his credit, Carter has worked on his pitch selection, and the results are evident. After leading the league with 212 strikeouts in 2013, Carter cut that number to 182 in 2014 and 151 in '15.

The Brewers' new first baseman is refining his approach this season as he works toward a bounce back season at the plate.

"Just using all parts of the field, hitting low line drives right now," Carter said. "Working on squaring the ball up more, making more consistent contact."

Carter ultimately chose the Brewers in free agency because of his relationship with general manager David Stearns, who was the assistant GM with the Astros while Carter was in Houston, and the opportunity to play first base every day. But as a power hitter, the chance to play 81 games at Miller Park, where 2.33 homers per game (second in the National League behind Coors Field) were hit last year, was certainly a nice perk.

"I've heard that it's a good hitter's park, so I'm excited to play there and see how it is," Carter said.

Last call

• Versatile players are vital to any team, and very few players are more versatile than Jake Elmore.

Elmore, a four-year veteran who is in Brewers camp as a non-roster invitee, has played every position in his career, including pitching two innings. In fact, in 2013 as a member of the Astros, Elmore played all nine positions in one season.

"You end up looking for guys that can play every position," manager Craig Counsell said. "And I think with Jake, I don't feel like he has to answer those questions. He's done it. He's a player that when you're evaluating the make-up of a roster and how we do it, it's certainly something you always mention when you're talking about him."

• The Brewers' spring slate gets started Wednesday with an exhibition contest against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

"Last year it went well. I thought it went well," Counsell said. "It's a thrill for them certainly, and it gets us some game action. It's good."

Taylor Jungmann will start, but Brewers fans shouldn't expect to see many of the team's regulars in action.

"I think it'll be a little less of the regular guys," Counsell said. "There'll be some, but certainly not all of them, and more so because of the split squad the following day."

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.