Prince showcases versatility with start in center
PHOENIX -- Josh Prince has already hit his way onto the Brewers' 40-man roster, and now he's trying to play his way into the team's Major League plans.
Sensational defender Logan Schafer shifted to right field for a split-squad game against the Reds on Monday so the Brewers could get a look at Prince in center, one of the many positions he is expected to man this spring at Maryvale Baseball Park. Prince rode a terrific Arizona Fall League (.404 average, 36-for-89) into the Brewers' plans.
"Maybe he'll turn into an everyday player in the big leagues," manager Ron Roenicke said. "But if not, he's a guy that I think could be super-utility. There's not too many guys that can play different positions, especially shortstop, and then also be able to play the outfield."
Prince was drafted as a shortstop out of Tulane in the third round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He played three years there in the Brewers' system before switching to center field for Double-A Huntsville at the start of 2012 and also played three games at shortstop and four at third base. The Brewers hope to get him comfortable in left field and right field this spring.
If he's successful, Prince could develop into a player like Jerry Hairston Jr., whose versatility came in so handy during the second half of 2011. Hairston only played 45 regular-season games in a Milwaukee uniform but manned four different positions.
Prince finished last year's regular season with a .251 average, seven home runs, 55 RBIs and 41 stolen bases, second most in the Southern League to Reds speedster Billy Hamilton.
"He really runs," Roenicke said of Prince. "He's supposed to be a real good baserunner with good instincts. He's kind of stocky, but looking at the times we ran our 30s [30-yard dashes], he's one of our fastest guys."
Against the Reds on Monday, Prince was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.