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Swing is the thing as Green eyes Crew bench role

MILWAUKEE -- Taylor Green departed the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, having spent 40 at-bats in that nation's Winter League tweaking his swing to be better prepared for a bench role with the Brewers in 2013.

Green, a two-time Brewers Minor League Player of the Year who turned 26 last week, remains a prospect without a position. He is blocked by Aramis Ramirez at third base, Rickie Weeks at second and now Corey Hart at first. So he has been focused on improving his at-bats off the bench, and, like fellow left-handed-hitting prospect Mat Gamel, who is also expected to play in the Dominican this winter, at increasing his versatility in the field.

"I have some things I have to work on," Green said in September. "There are some things I worked on with my swing, and in the Dominican they have some good arms. I'm there to hit."

It was Green's first stint in a Latin American Winter League. Agent Joshua Kusnick confirmed that Green's departure on Tuesday had nothing to do with an injury.

For the second straight season, Green split 2012 between Triple-A Nashville and Milwaukee. He made a career-high 117 plate appearances for the Brewers but never gained a foothold in the Majors, batting .184 (19-for-103) with three home runs and 14 RBIs. Green started 14 games at first base, seven at third and one apiece as the Brewers' first baseman and designated hitter.

At Nashville, he batted .273 with seven homers and 29 RBIs in 77 games, a drop in production from a solid 2011 season in which he hit .336 with 22 homers and 88 RBIs in 120 games and won the Brewers' Robin Yount Performance Award for the second time. He was also the organization's top Minor Leaguer in 2007.

"Obviously I'm not too happy with [2012] from an offensive standpoint," Green said. "I'm just trying to learn, and I'm going to make some adjustments to my swing. When you're not in an everyday groove, you have to make some adjustments to have success."

Big adjustments?

"Nothing too, too huge, but definitely something people will notice," Green said. "Nothing too crazy, though. Basically, I want to get my front foot down earlier. A lot of time, I'm coming [off the bench] facing a hard thrower, and the idea is to shorten it up and use the whole field."

It's clear to Green that his quickest path to the Majors is the Brewers' bench. A role went up for grabs on Friday when the Brewers outrighted reserve first baseman Travis Ishikawa, a lefty hitter with many of the same skills as Green.

Ishikawa led the Brewers with 54 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter.

"That's how I'm going to break in, I feel," Green said. "Not the easiest way to do it, but lots of other people have done it. I just need to do it. I've always been pretty good at making adjustments over the winter to come back better for the next year."

Milwaukee Brewers, Taylor Green