Brewers to try out different players at leadoff
PHOENIX -- The Brewers are in no rush to name a replacement for departed leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki, manager Ron Roenicke said Friday.
Aoki, the pesky left-handed hitter who had filled that role for most of the past two seasons, was traded to the Royals in December. The Brewers got a promising left-hander in return (Will Smith) with five years of club control, but they were left without any prototypical leadoff candidates.
Shortstop Jean Segura has been mentioned, as has center fielder Carlos Gomez. But since neither player walks very much, he would have to hit his way to an acceptable on-base percentage, Roenicke conceded.
"We'll see how Spring Training goes, and the comfort zone of guys," Roenicke said. "We'll try some different things, maybe, in spring, and see how it looks.
"But it's an important spot because you've got really good 3-4 [hitters in Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez] and depending where [Jonathan Lucroy] hits, five. It's important [for the top] two spots [to] get on."
Braun had the Brewers' highest on-base percentage last season (.372), followed by Ramirez (.370) and Aoki (.356). Second baseman Scooter Gennett also posted a .356 OBP, but he may be more likely to begin his first full season in the big leagues hitting lower in the order.
Gomez's on-base percentage last season was a career-best .338, and Segura's was .329.