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Crew hopes Broxton finds confidence in Minors

Counsell says Phillips will get center-field chance with Brewers
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

PHILADELPHIA -- Keon Broxton found a fix in the Minor Leagues last season that propelled him to a strong finish. The Brewers are hoping history repeats itself.

Mired in a 3-for-50 (.060) slump, the super-streaky center fielder was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday to clear a roster spot for infielder Eric Sogard's return from the disabled list. The move made Brett Phillips, No. 10 on MLBPipeline.com's list of Milwaukee's top prospects, the primary center fielder for the moment.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Keon Broxton found a fix in the Minor Leagues last season that propelled him to a strong finish. The Brewers are hoping history repeats itself.

Mired in a 3-for-50 (.060) slump, the super-streaky center fielder was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday to clear a roster spot for infielder Eric Sogard's return from the disabled list. The move made Brett Phillips, No. 10 on MLBPipeline.com's list of Milwaukee's top prospects, the primary center fielder for the moment.

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"Trying to get Keon right is what's most important here," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Brett is here and he's playing well, so he's going to get a chance tonight. We'll see how that goes moving forward. We're playing that day-to-day."

That left open the possibility of Hernan Perez seeing action, or the return of top prospect Lewis Brinson, who didn't hit much during his first career stint with the Brewers from June 11-25, but has been on a tear since returning to Colorado Springs. Brinson entered Saturday hitting .429/.476/.740 with 14 extra-base hits in 84 plate appearances since rejoining the SkySox.

Video: SD@MIL: Brinson smacks a triple to left-center field

"I know you've got Brinson right behind me, and I know Broxton is going to go down, figure some things out and come back. Hopefully soon," Phillips said.

In the meantime, he will try to seize the opportunity.

"Every time Craig Counsell runs me out there ... I've got to show him I can help this team win [in] any sort of way," said Phillips, who started in Broxton's place on Friday night and homered to account for the only Brewers run in a 6-1 loss to the Phillies. "Honestly, that's all I'm trying to do every day -- something positive to give him options."

Video: Phillips discusses playing for the Brewers

Broxton has proven capable of hot streaks, but they have been interrupted by some brutal slumps in which he has gone 5-for-42 (.119) with 21 strikeouts, 4-for-49 (.082) with 23 strikeouts, and his current skid, in which he has struck out 22 times.

The current drought was capped by a three-pitch whiff as a pinch-hitter on Friday night, leaving Broxton hitless in his last 15 at-bats. He leads the National League with 124 strikeouts.

"We felt he had reached a point where he needs to get confidence back. That's first," Counsell said. "We're confident that his offense will come back and he was just in a little drought, but he needs to experience some success in hopefully a little lower-pressure environment against a little easier pitching. I'm pretty confident he'll have some success here and will be back.

"The fact that Keon is streaky doesn't bother me. He gets to his offense in his own way, and that's OK. To me, he just reached a point where his confidence was shaken a little bit, and we needed to address that."

Overall, Broxton has hit .218/.294/.430 with 14 home runs in 92 games for the Brewers this season.

The Brewers could have another roster move as soon as Sunday, when reliever Wily Peralta comes off the 10-day DL.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers, Keon Broxton