Spring Training Report: 3/17/2014
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE FOR BREWERS RODRIGUEZ
Brewers infielder Alfredo Rodriguez has always had to exercise patience.
After a successful junior season at the University of Maryland, Rodriguez had to wait until the 32nd round of the 2011 draft to hear his name called by Milwaukee.
He chose to go back to school for his senior season and his patience paid off the following year, as he was selected 15 rounds higher – again by the Brewers – in the 17th round of the 2012 draft.
Another area where Rodriguez’s patience has paid off, is at the plate, where he drew 50 walks last season, while striking out just 52 times.
“I guess I’ve always been a patient hitter” said Rodriguez, “but I’ve seen that in professional baseball that the umpires are a little bit better than college, so I trust my eye and try to have a good at bat every time. Depending on the situation, if we need somebody on base, I’ll get on base, or there’s some times when there’s a runner on third base and you’ve got to do your job, runner on second base, move him over, so I just try and take each situation as its own and just try and execute the situation.”
One thing working in Rodriguez’s favor is his ability to play multiple positions. In his two years with the Brewers, the 23-year-old Rodriguez has played 81 games at shortstop, 46 games at second base, and 35 games at third base. When asked if he had a favorite position to play, Rodriguez didn’t hesitate.
“Definitely shortstop” he said, before adding that he’s happy playing anywhere that gets him on the field. “I’ve been playing shortstop my whole life, throughout college. That’s my spot I grew up playing, but I’m definitely as comfortable at second base. Third base is a little bit of an adjustment. I consider myself a middle kind of guy, but wherever they need me to play, I’ll play. But shortstop and second base are definitely the most comfortable positions. Anyway to get in the lineup, I’m willing to do that. I think defensively, I can compete with anyone and start as a defensive player as well. It can’t hurt, so I guess the more positions you can play, you increase your chances of playing more.”
After spending his offseason at home on the east coast, Rodriguez is glad to be back and looking forward to the season ahead.
“It’s been a really good and productive offseason” he said. “I’ve been working a lot on my speed and foot quickness. Definitely trying to eat healthy. And other than that, trying to improve all aspects of the game. Getting faster and just preparing my body for another season. I just want to have a chance to compete and play every day. That’s my main goal. To get an opportunity to play every day whether it’s second base or wherever they need me. Just get on the field and have a solid season and hopefully keep on moving up throughout the organization.”
The next step for Rodriguez should be a promotion to High-A Brevard County. where you could slot in at any number of the Manatees infield positions when they open their season in a little over two weeks.
Milwaukee dropped another game on Monday, getting steam-rolled by the Chicago White Sox by a score of 9-0. Kyle Lohse started for the Brewers and was charged with the loss, after giving up five runs on seven hits in just 3.2 innings of work. The Brewers offense managed just four hits, getting one a piece from Jean Segura, Logan Schafer and Aramis Ramirez. The other hit came from minor league outfielder Michael Reed who was brought over for the game today.
GARZA STARTS TRIPLE-A GAME
Brewers pitcher Matt Garza made a start for Nashville in their game this afternoon against the Cincinnati Reds Triple-A affiliate. Garza worked six innings, allowing three runs, two earned on six hits. He struck out five and did not allow a walk.
BACK FIELD NOTES
This afternoon I checked out the Brewers Single-A affiliates in Goodyear. As always, it’s tough to keep an eye on two games at once, so I may have missed some things, but here are a few notes from what I saw during Monday’s action.
– Cameron Garfield continued to punish the baseball. After a pair of doubles on Sunday, Garfield, playing the role of the designated hitter for the Brevard squad, backed that up with two home runs on Monday. Both were no-doubters.
– Alfredo Rodriguez, who is not generally known for his power, also muscled up for a home run that cleared the fence in left-center field.
– Chris McFarland had a real nice game for Wisconsin. He ripped a line drive in his first at bat, then followed with a double in his second at bat. He walked in his third plate appearance before being replaced at second base by Angel Ortega.
– I got my first look at third baseman Tucker Neuhaus, and he had a nice double to left field in his third at bat. Unfortunately, his day was cut short after getting smoked by a foul ball. With Neuhaus on third, McFarland ripped a screamer down the line in foul territory, Neuhaus couldn’t get out of the way in time and wound up leaving the game, being replaced by Taylor Brennan.
– Other players who put together some good at bats in the time I watched them included first basemen David Denson and Adam Giacalone and outfielders Victor Roache, Jose Sermo and Max Walla.
– Baseball America also noted a couple of transactions for the Brewers this week, including the release of catcher Tyler Roberts and pitchers R.J. Seidel and Michael Olmsted.
The Brewers will be facing off against the Oakland A’s teams on Tuesday afternoon. Nashville and Huntsville will be on the road at Papago Park to square off with Sacramento and Midland, while Brevard and Wisconsin will be at home in Maryvale, taking on Stockton and Beloit. Hiram Burgos gets the start for Nashville and will be followed by Mike Fiers. Drew Gagnon will be making the start for Huntsville. Preston Gainey will be on the hill for Brevard, with Chad Thompson getting the nod for Wisconsin. All four games are scheduled for 1pm.