PHOENIX -- Defensive versatility helped Hernan Perez stick with the Brewers as a utility man. Now he hopes an improved bat helps him become more than that.
Perez has minimized his leg kick, which helps him keep his head more still and allows him to better recognize breaking pitches. That, in turn, should help him improve his ball/strike recognition and an on-base percentage that slipped to .289 last season while Perez played every positon but catcher and set a career-high with 458 plate appearances.
"I'm seeing the ball better, letting the ball travel a little bit more," said Perez, who has four hits including a pair of doubles in his first 10 Cactus League at-bats. "I think my at-bats have been good. I feel like it's going to work.
"I think if I want to be an everyday player, I have to keep improving my offense. I know I can play defense. But my goal is to be an everyday player. I'm going to keep working for it."
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Where would he fit? Perez came up as a shortstop, but that belongs to gifted 23-year-old Orlando Arcia. So perhaps second base is his best path to a more regular spot.
"I think second base is open right now," Perez said. "There is [Jonathan] Villar and [Eric] Sogard, but we don't know yet whether anyone is going to be at second base every day. I don't know; I'm going to work hard. I'm going to do my best and we'll see what decision they make."
Law school waits for Perrin
Brewers pitching prospect Jon Perrin is giving himself five years to see if he can beat the odds and make it in professional baseball.
He's already overcome long odds just to make it to big league camp. Perrin gutted through his senior season at Oklahoma State University in 2015 but a Brewers area scout convinced the club to give the lanky right-hander a shot as a 27th round draft pick, then Milwaukee advanced him quickly through the Minor League system. Perrin was selected for the prestigious Arizona Fall League last year before earning a non-roster invitation to big league camp.
All the while, a spot at the University of Kansas law school is waiting for him. Perrin graduated from OSU with a history degree and was accepted to law school soon thereafter. His entrance exam score is good for five years.
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"Being a 27th-round pick, a senior sign, obviously the deck is already kind of stacked against you," Perrin said. "You just have to take your opportunity and run with it. Coming in, I knew that's what I had to do."
Perrin struck out the side in a scoreless inning of work against the Indians on Monday after allowing four runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning last week against the Giants in his Cactus League debut. His calling card is command with four pitches; Perrin struck out 91 batters versus 21 walks while compiling a 2.91 ERA in 105 1/3 innings at Double-A Biloxi last season.
"I'm in a position where I really feel like I can make it to the big leagues this season and help this team," he said. "I don't walk guys, I throw strikes, I can eat innings. I've started and relieved now. I feel like I can be that flexible guy."
Like Brewers left-hander Brent Suter?
"Right," Perrin said. "I talked to Brent about that a couple of days ago while we were sitting around during [batting practice]. He always gives me a lot of encouragement, and I was like, 'Dude, you created the role that I'm trying to fill in the big leagues. You go make the rotation so I can have that flex reliever spot.'"
After weeks of talk and a crash course of Spring Training workouts, Ryan Braun will make his first appearance at first base when the Brewers host the Giants on Wednesday at Maryvale Baseball Park. Left-hander and Brewers starting rotation candidate Wade Miley is scheduled to start, with right-hander Zach Davies set to follow with an inning of work in his unofficial season debut. The 2:05 p.m. CT game will air exclusively via MLB.com webcast.