Brewers giving Clark chance to shore up first base

Brewers giving Clark chance to shore up first base

MILWAUKEE -- Do the Brewers have a new starting first baseman? Not exactly, but in making a second consecutive start on Thursday, recent callup Matt Clark had another opportunity to state his case.

"I want to see if somebody gets hot," manager Ron Roenicke said. "[Wednesday] night was pretty good, so hopefully we can get a little more of that."

Clark hit his first Major League home run and drove in a pair during Wednesday's 4-1 Brewers win over the Marlins, and he went deep again Thursday in a tense, 4-2 Brewers win. It was welcome offense for a Brewers team that ranks last in the National League in OPS at first base for the second consecutive season.

The regulars at the position, Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay, entered Thursday a combined 3-for-30 in September.

The 27-year-old Clark took a fascinating road to Milwaukee. After five seasons in San Diego's system, he played 2013 in Japan for the Chunichi Dragons before returning stateside for 2014. Bob Skube, the Brewers' Triple-A hitting coach, had worked with Clark in the Padres' system and urged his new bosses to give the player a shot, but the Brewers already had Hunter Morris and Sean Halton manning first base at Nashville.

Clark signed with the Mets and played at Double-A but was granted his release in June, making him available at the time Morris suffered a broken arm. So the Brewers signed Clark and reunited him with Skube in Nashville, where Clark batted .313 with 16 home runs in 53 games. The Brewers made him one of their September callups.

"Skube kept saying, 'Hey, this guy's got a chance,'" general manager Doug Melvin said.

"He was adamant about [Clark]," pro scouting director Zack Minasian added.

Melvin once employed Clark's father, former Major League right-hander Terry Clark, who finished his career in Texas when Melvin was GM there.

With Overbay and Reynolds bound for free agency after the season, Clark and Morris will be the only true first basemen on the 40-man roster.

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.