Kevin Mench, who struggled mightily after a midseason trade from Texas to Milwaukee, said Thursday he will "pitch a fit" if manager Ned Yost institutes a left-right, Jenkins-Mench platoon in left field. Yost has not made public his plans, but has pointed to Jenkins' struggles last season against left-handers and Mench's career success against them as reasons a timesharing agreement could make sense.
No thanks, says Mench. He sees the nine outfielders in camp, all with Major League experience, and says something has to give.
"We don't know what their thinking is," said Mench, 29. "Everybody can play every day somewhere, so if they're not going to [let us] do that, we need to go where we can play. It's kind of unnerving not knowing where you'll end up."
He later added: "I don't think I'm over the hill. I don't want to be relegated to playing once a week. If I was 35, 36 [years old] then, yeah, I would understand my role and be all right."
Yost responded to Mench much the way he did Tuesday to Jenkins, who declared, "I've got to go," if the team plans a platoon.
"They're going to have to accept it, but I don't want them to like it," Yost said. "What we're looking for are guys that want to be team players and that want to win a championship, to be on a winning team whatever it takes. If you don't want to be a part of the team because you've got other aspirations or other ideas of what you want to do, that's fine."
And as he insisted after learning of Jenkins' comments earlier in the week, Yost predicted that his outfield logjam would not be a problem. But, he added, "I'll handle it. If you want to be a part of this thing, fine. If not, fine by me too. We're here to win ballgames. To be really honest with you, there's more than one person who can throw a fit."
Mench was given a chance to win the everyday left fielder's job after the Brewers traded Carlos Lee to Texas for Mench, Laynce Nix and closer Francisco Cordero last July, but eventually ended up on the bench. Mench contributed 12 home runs and 50 RBIs in his first 87 games with the Rangers, but hit only one homer with 18 RBIs in 40 games with the Brewers.
His name was mentioned often at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, where general manager Doug Melvin listened to offers but never found a match. Also in trade rumors at the Winter Meetings was Jenkins, who was in a prolonged power slump in early August when Yost decided to look at some younger players in right field. Mench said he could not fathom that the Brewers would even consider cutting the playing time of the team's longest-tenured player.
"It's not like he's 38 years old and he's washed up," Mench said of Jenkins, 32. "The guy had a terrible couple of months. Everybody has a terrible couple of months."
"We're not geared that way," Mench said. "We're not geared to play once, twice a week. A guy like Lenny Harris, probably one of the best pinch-hitters of all time, he was geared that way. He went out and did his job like you're supposed to. It would be like you [reporters] being thrown into a doctor's office. Could you do that?"
Bill Hall is expected to start in center field and both Jenkins and Mench say they expect Corey Hart to be the starter in right. That leaves Jenkins, Mench, Brady Clark, Gabe Gross and Nix vying for playing time and roster spots, assuming Drew Anderson and Tony Gwynn, Jr. start the year at Triple-A Nashville.
Another outfielder??? ESPN reporter Neil Janowitz will report to Brewers camp next week as a non-roster outfielder and will chronicle his experiences online and in print. He will participate in drills with the team and will have a locker in the clubhouse.
Janowitz, 25, is a native of Pittsburgh and attended the University of Rochester, but says he is a Brewers fan. He will wear uniform No. 99.
Last chance: The special four-game ticket packages on sale this week will be available until Friday at 5 p.m. CT. The packages start at $52 and offer fans an opportunity to buy tickets before single-game seats go on sale to the public Saturday morning.
Speaking of tickets: The first day of tickets sales will proceed as planned, but the Brewers will allow fans into Miller Park beginning at 6:30 a.m. Saturday in the event of rain or snow, the team announced Thursday. The concourse is not heated, but will allow fans to stay dry should Mother Nature decide to join what the Brewers have dubbed an "Arctic Tailgate" party.
The first 2,000 fans in line at the box office will receive a voucher redeemable for two complimentary loge level tickets to either the April 3 or April 4 games versus the Dodgers with the purchase of two tickets to any 2007 game. Those fans will also receive a T-shirt, hot dog and soda.
In the event of precipitation prior to 8 a.m., the "Most Creative Arctic Breakfast Tailgate" contest will not be held as fans are not allowed to bring tailgate gear into the concourse area. The prize of four Opening Day tickets would instead be awarded by a random drawing of fans in line at that time.
Fans looking to avoid the weather and the lines can buy their tickets online at www.Brewers.com. They can also call the ticket office at (414) 902-4000.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less