Villar makes DR debut at 2B, will stay sharp at SS

Arcia slated to play shortstop for Brewers in '17

Villar makes DR debut at 2B, will stay sharp at SS

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers infielder Jonathan Villar made his Dominican Winter League debut Wednesday for Aguilas Cibaeñas at second base, the position he's expected to man for Milwaukee in 2017.

"The Brewers have told me that they're going to give me second base, but that I shouldn't abandon shortstop completely," Villar said, according to a story from the team's press office. "They recommended that I play short and second. They also said that although they're going to have Orlando Arcia at short, he's still young and because of that, they don't want me to completely abandon that position."

Villar was Milwaukee's Opening Day shortstop in 2016 and had his best season, posting an .826 OPS while leading MLB with 62 stolen bases. He moved to third base when the Brewers promoted top prospect Arcia on Aug. 2, but committed 12 errors there in 42 games, and played more second base during the final weeks of the season.

High Heat: Counsell on Villar

By remaining sharp at shortstop, Villar will provide the Brewers some insurance as Arcia enters his first full season. Arcia hit .219/.273/.358 in in first 55 Major League games.

"I do think having two months in the big leagues [will help Arcia moving forward]," manager Craig Counsell said. "Like a lot of guys, [he] experienced a little bit of failure. Understanding adjustments he'll have to make, just the comfort level to exhale to breathe and play the game to his abilities, I think he's in a better spot to do that coming into Spring Training."

With Villar's move to second base in mind, the Brewers acquired corner infielder Travis Shaw in the trade last week that sent Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox, and intend for Shaw to make the majority of starts at third. Villar at second base would displace incumbent Scooter Gennett, whose immediate future with the team is in limbo.

Villar told reporters he expects to play about a month for Aguilas, including some potential postseason games, explaining why he joined the team midseason.

He batted leadoff and went 1-for-4 in his debut, reaching on an infield single and stealing second base in the seventh inning, and lifting a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 win over Escogido.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. 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.