Gennett passes first spring test in left field

Gennett passes first spring test in left field

PHOENIX -- Right on cue, the baseball gods sent some fly balls Scooter Gennett's way during his first spring inning in left field.

Gennett, who is converting from everyday second baseman to an expected role off the Brewers' bench this season, started the team's exhibition opener against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Friday and camped under a pair of first-inning flyouts. He later smacked a solo home run in the Brewers' 11-0 win.

"It never fails when you're at a new position," Gennett said. "Two balls hit in the first inning. That's how baseball is; it finds you."

Said manager Craig Counsell: "That was probably one of the best results of the day, that he got to make some plays out there and be tested a little bit. I think he took a big 'comfort' step today."

Gennett has been working to add left field and third base to his repertoire, which previously was limited to second base. Jonathan Villar is taking over that position this season.

"It feels pretty natural," Gennett said of his outfield work. "The biggest thing is the game stuff, the game speed, knowing when runners are on, and that internal clock. And something like, [Lewis] Brinson was to my left today, knowing his speed and those kind of things. They're more instinctual. Those things, you continue to get better at as you continue working."

Hernan Perez will start in left for Saturday's Cactus League debut. Playing time is available at that position because starting left fielder Ryan Braun is not expected to play in the Cactus League for the first week or two of games. Braun traditionally requires a small sample of Spring Training at-bats to feel ready for the season.

Last call
• The Brewers expect to see a lot of Jesus Aguilar at first base in Spring Training games, Counsell said. Aguilar, who is bidding for a bench job and is out of Minor League options, homered in Friday's exhibition.

How much will Aguilar play?

"You know there's a decision coming on them at the end of spring," Counsell said of out-of-options players, "so he's going to get a lot of at-bats."

• Pitching prospect Taylor Williams, who is on a different track from other Brewers pitchers because he returned late last year from Tommy John surgery, threw his first batting practice session of the year on Friday.

"We went slower at the beginning on purpose with him and kept him off, but he's ready to go," Counsell said. "I don't want to hold him back if he's ready to go. He's moving forward at a good clip. He's done it right and hasn't had setbacks. That's what you want."

• The Brewers released a schedule for regular-season telecasts that includes 150 games on Fox Sports Wisconsin and five national broadcasts. The national games include four telecasts on FS1 (April 22 vs. St. Louis, June 24 at Atlanta, July 1 vs. Miami and Sept. 30 at St. Louis) and a Labor Day broadcast on ESPN (Sept. 4 at Cincinnati). The full broadcast schedule is available at Brewers.com.

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.