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Counsell makes case for Parra's value

Brewers manager appreciates his ability to play multiple positions

MILWAUKEE -- All of the traits that make Gerardo Parra a leading candidate to be the first player traded as part of the Brewers' upcoming "reset" also make him arguably the team's first-half MVP. Manager Craig Counsell made a strong case for Parra's contributions on Saturday morning.

"Parra's best trait is he's able to do, really, anything," Counsell said. "He's just a versatile player. Three outfield positions, great defense everywhere. You look at him any spot in the lineup, and he's maybe not the perfect fit, but he can do everything. That's a very valuable player. That's what he's proven to be."

Parra appeared in his team-high 73rd game when he started Saturday against the Twins, batting .288 with five home runs and 20 RBIs. His batting average was one point behind Adam Lind's team-leading (among Brewers regulars) .289. Only Ryan Braun had scored more runs than Parra's 29.

And because of his versatility, Parra has helped the Brewers cover injuries to left fielder Khris Davis, center fielder Carlos Gomez and right fielder Braun. Recently, Parra has been the regular left fielder while Davis recovers from left knee surgery.

"It helps to have a player on your roster like that who's capable of doing a lot of things," Counsell said. "It makes your job easier, for sure."

The question is whether Parra will make some other manager's job easier in the coming weeks. He is earning just more than $6 million this season and will be a free agent for the first time in the fall, a combination that puts Parra near the top of the list of players general manager Doug Melvin will consider trading ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Parra will play a second straight July through trade rumors; he was dealt by the D-backs to the Brewers just before the Deadline last year for two Minor Leaguers.

In Spring Training, then-Brewers manager Ron Roenicke faced questions about how he would get Parra playing time in a crowded outfield. But Parra entered Saturday with 226 at-bats, fourth on the team behind Braun, Lind and shortstop Jean Segura.

"When a guy's a good player, it works out. Rarely at the end of the year you're saying, 'I didn't get that guy enough at-bats.' Those guys find a way. They'll play well enough that it happens."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
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