Roenicke seeking more from Gomez with the bat

Roenicke seeking more from Gomez with the bat

Roenicke seeking more from Gomez with the bat
CHICAGO -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said the jury is still out on whether Carlos Gomez can be the team's everyday center fielder next season.

The club has increased Gomez's playing time since Corey Hart moved to first base and Norichika Aoki began starting regularly in right field. No one questioned Gomez's superior defense, but club officials were curious to see whether he could consistently produce at the plate, something Gomez struggled to do as a younger player with the Mets and Twins.

"The at-bats, he'll have a real good game, and then all of a sudden, the next day it will be just so-so," Roenicke said. "We're wanting him to string together a lot of them.

"Defensively, I know he dropped the one ball [in Tuesday's loss to the Pirates], but we know he's going to play good all the time. Baserunning, he's really good stealing bases. But the offensive part is the part we've always wanted him to be more consistent, and that's what we still would like to see, a little more consistency." Gomez had one of those good moments on Sunday, when he hit a first-pitch curveball from Pirates starter Erik Bedard for a three-run home run. But in his next at-bat, he hit a first-pitch popout to center field.

"If you're going to swing at that first pitch, you need to square it up a lot," Roenicke said. "'Gomey' can do those things, which is what excites you about what he could go if he gets consistent."

Entering Monday's game against the Cubs, Gomez was hitting .233 in his starts with a .282 on-base percentage.

Roenicke noted that Gomez is still only 26.

"You can learn a lot after 26 years old," Roenicke said. "I don't know what's going to happen with him. We all like him. Regardless of whether he's starting for us or platooning, we like him a lot."