Gatewood shifting from crowded SS to 3B

20-year-old would be Brewers' top prospect at new position

Gatewood shifting from crowded SS to 3B

PHOENIX -- Flush with shortstop prospects, the Brewers are making the first move to ease their Minor League logjam at the position by shifting Jake Gatewood to third base.

Gatewood, a former supplemental first-round Draft pick who ranks 24th on's list of the top Brewers prospects, may occasionally see action at shortstop in 2016, farm director Tom Flanagan said. But Gatewood primarily will play third base, perhaps at Class A Wisconsin.

Brewers Spring Training info

A move to third base has long been forecast for Gatewood, in part because of his 6-foot-5 (and growing) frame. The 20-year-old immediately becomes the Brewers' top prospect at the position, which veteran Aaron Hill will cover in the Majors to start this season.

If the move holds, Gatewood would have a clearer path to Miller Park. As a shortstop, he was on a depth chart that included top prospect Orlando Arcia, who will begin 2016 at Triple-A Nashville, plus three other Top 30 prospects: Gilbert Lara (No. 6), Isan Diaz (No. 11) and Yadiel Rivera (No. 23).

Breaking down Brewers' Top 30 Prospects

Lara could also end up at third base in the future, but the Brewers say they will continue developing him at shortstop for now. Diaz, aware that Arcia is likely to hold the position for the foreseeable future in Milwaukee, said last month he would welcome a move to second base if the Brewers asked.

Gatewood batted .244 with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs at rookie Helena and Class A Wisconsin last season.

Making his case

Speaking of second-base prospects, Rule 5 Draft pick Colin Walsh remains in the mix to make the Brewers' Opening Day roster, manager Craig Counsell said on Sunday. Walsh made his second start at third base, another opportunity to show he has the defensive flexibility to contribute off the big league bench, and finished 4-for-4 with a double in the Brewers' 3-1 win over the Dodgers.

By rule, the Brewers will have to keep Walsh on the Major League roster this season or offer him back to the A's.

"I want to make it as hard as possible for them to say, 'No, we don't think you can make this team,'" Walsh said. "I don't want to ever let negativity creep into my mind-set, so I never think, 'Oh, maybe that hit put me over the edge.' If I keep doing what I'm doing, if it doesn't work out, it's not on my end of anything."

Santana back in action

Right fielder Domingo Santana returned to the lineup Sunday for the first time in six days after being sidelined by a stiff left shoulder and neck from an awkward night of sleep.

"I couldn't lift my arm," Santana said. "It was that bad."

Santana stayed hot, going 1-for-3 including an RBI single. He has reached base in 12 of his last 17 plate appearances and has a six-game hitting streak.

Last call

The Brewers have a bona fide rocket scientist in their baseball operations department. Jerry Thomas joined the club in September 2014 from NASA, where he worked in the Space Shuttle program as a propulsions expert. He is a software developer for the Brewers.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for 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.