MILWAUKEE -- Brewers uber-utility man Hernan Perez quietly set a Major League record in Tuesday's 9-1 win over the Reds. His 10 total bases set a new single-game standard for a player who manned shortstop and center field, surpassing another Brewer, Jose Hernandez, who logged nine total bases while playing
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers uber-utility man Hernan Perez quietly set a Major League record in Tuesday's 9-1 win over the Reds. His 10 total bases set a new single-game standard for a player who manned shortstop and center field, surpassing another Brewer, Jose Hernandez, who logged nine total bases while playing those spots in a win over the Giants in 2001.
That statistic may sound obscure, but the value of a productive offensive player capable of holding down the two most premium defensive positions was not lost on Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell.
"The scope of what he's able to provide -- I mean, he had 10 total bases last night," Counsell said Wednesday morning. "That's a big offensive night. That's a 'drive the bus' night, in addition to playing multiple positions.
"He helps you in a lot of different ways, is the point of that. With the bat, with the glove, on the bases, his versatility. He's checking a lot of boxes, for sure, in ways he can help you."
Getting Perez going at the plate has been a priority of Counsell and the Brewers' coaching staff. Perez cemented his standing with the Brewers last season by posting a .730 OPS with 34 stolen bases while starting games at every position but pitcher and catcher.
But with new Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw off to a productive start, Perez struggled with inconsistent playing time to start this season. He had a .580 OPS through his first 44 plate appearances before beginning an extra-hit barrage on Monday, when Perez doubled, homered and drove in four runs.
When reporters gathered at his locker that night, Perez smiled at them and said, "Long time."
A night later, he hit a pair of RBI triples and homered again, this time a solo shot. Those two games boosted Perez's OPS 375 points, to .955 entering Wednesday, when he drove in another run in his first trip to the plate with a sacrifice fly.
Perez conceded that trying to find a rhythm before he began to get consistent playing time was challenging.
"I was swinging at bad pitches," Perez said. "But my swing is still there."
If there is a downside to Eric Thames' remarkable April, it has been the detrimental effect on Jesus Aguilar, who had a remarkable March. Aguilar won a job as Thames' backup at first base by batting .455 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 25 Spring Training games, then opened the season 7-for-11 in a platoon with Thames.
But since Thames has taken over, Aguilar has cooled. He entered Wednesday hitless in his last 14 at-bats.
"I talked to Aggie about it," Counsell said. "He understands. Still, Jesus has done a nice job. He's been an important player on our team, I think. He's a good influence in the clubhouse, a good person, he works hard. He had a good first 20 at-bats. His last 10 haven't been, but it's short. We have a lot of confidence in him."
Aguilar will simply have to endure because there is little chance of Thames coming out of the lineup while he is hot."
"It's kind of the nature of the beast, really," Counsell said.
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.