Gerut getting acquainted with new team

Gerut getting acquainted with new team

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was the first day of school all over again for this 31-year-old veteran. Jody Gerut, joining his fifth team, stood in the visiting locker room of the Metrodome on Friday wearing a Milwaukee Brewers jersey, probably wondering how in the world he got here.

It's been a whirlwind 24 hours.

"I was a little shocked," Gerut said. "I wasn't anticipating it."

One day removed from a trade that shipped Gerut from San Diego to Milwaukee in a straight swap for Tony Gwynn Jr., Gerut finds himself on a team that, at 26-15 before Friday's game, has one of the Major Leagues' best record. He came from a Padres team that entered Friday 19-22 and is not expected to contend.

The trade brings Gerut closer to his roots. He was born in Elmhurst, Ill., and lives in Chicago.

Gerut is coming off a breakthrough season in which he hit .296 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs for the Padres. This year, he has regressed to .221 with four home runs and 14 RBIs entering play Friday.

Gerut platooned in center field in San Diego with Scott Hairston. In Milwaukee, he will be more of a true fourth outfielder playing behind Ryan Braun, Mike Cameron and Corey Hart.

"I can play all three [outfield positions] pretty comfortably, so I don't necessarily have any [concerns about] defense," Gerut said. "Offensively, it's harder to come off the bench than it is to play every day. But I've gotten a taste of that since being in the National League. That sort of transition is over. I know what I have to do to be ready off the bench."

General manager Doug Melvin tried to acquire Gerut last year from San Diego, but he was ultimately rebuffed. This time he got his man. And he was able to do it for Gwynn, a player that cleared waivers after Spring Training.

"[Gerut] can bat leadoff, and if we had an injury and needed someone for an extended period of time, he is established, has some power," Melvin said.

When asked for his perception of the Brewers, Gerut was effusive in praise.

"Good club. Tough club," Gerut said. "They are always going to grit it out to the end. They are talented. It's no wonder that they are in the race."

On Friday, outfielder Chris Duffy was designated for assignment to make room for Gerut.

"[Gerut is] going to get more of an opportunity to play than Duffy," manager Ken Macha said. "So I'll be able to give Cam some time off and Corey. You always hope that Braun can play every day, but he might need a day off, too."

Thor Nystrom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.