Weeks won't move to outfield for Brewers

Weeks won't move to outfield for Brewers

MILWAUKEE -- With left fielder Khris Davis struggling at the plate and Rickie Weeks' bat heating up on the bench, Brewers officials recently asked Weeks whether he would consider trying the outfield.

Weeks declined.

"I'm a second baseman," he told reporters. "I feel like, right now, I should be playing second base."

Might the promise of more playing time as a left fielder change his mind?

"Like I said, right now, I'm a second baseman," Weeks said.

Weeks is the right-handed-hitting half of the Brewers' second-base platoon with lefty swinger Scooter Gennett, who has been getting the vast majority of starts because so many pitchers are right-handed. Weeks on Saturday made his first start at second base since April 26 because a left-hander -- CC Sabathia -- was on the mound for the Yankees.

Weeks made the most of it, going 2-for-4 with his first RBI of the season, on a go-ahead hit in the seventh inning that proved the difference in the Brewers' 5-4 win.

During the winter, Brewers officials knew they had a challenging situation at second base because both Weeks, who is due $11 million this season in the final year of his contract, and Gennett, who came on last season after Weeks suffered a torn left hamstring, are limited to that one position. Officials discussed at that time whether Weeks might work in the outfield or at first base, but opted to sign veterans Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay to share first-base duties, and installed Davis, who had played admirably last year in place of a suspended Ryan Braun, in left field.

Second base was to begin as a straight platoon between Weeks and Gennett, manager Ron Roenicke said, though performance could eventually change that. Gennett is batting .282 with a .317 on-base percentage in 117 at-bats, and Weeks, thanks to his current hot streak, is up to .282 with a .349 on-base percentage in 39 at-bats, mostly off the bench.

Weeks' numbers have been boosted by five hits and two walks in his last nine plate appearances, five of them coming as a pinch-hitter.

"It's not that easy to just put somebody in the outfield," Roenicke said in Weeks' defense. "We did it so much last year, trying to switch guys around in Spring Training, that we had a discussion with [general manager] Doug [Melvin] and tried to not do that as much as we did the year before. Try to keep guys in their position more so we could get a better defensive job out of one position.

"It's hard when you're moving guys everywhere and then you expect them to be really good defensively. I think that's what we got into last year, so we tried to stay away from it this year."

But Roenicke and other decision-makers have reconsidered that philosophy in light of Davis' recent troubles. He entered Saturday batting .169 with a .180 OBP over his previous 15 games.

So the Brewers have been mulling alternatives, including Weeks. Asked whether it was reasonable to assume a manager would try to persuade a player, even an established player, to change positions if he deemed it in everyone's best interest, Roenicke responded, "Yeah. I'll leave it at that."

With Weeks off the table, a left-field platoon is possible, Roenicke said, with Logan Schafer and Caleb Gindl currently available as left-handed-hitting options.

"We've already had discussions on it, but there will be a time when we need to make a move if things continue," Roenicke said.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.