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Brewers beat 6/22

June 22, 2010

Macha confident Hoffman can close again

MILWAUKEE — With the way Trevor Hoffman has been pitching lately, the possibility of the all-time saves leader closing for the Brewers again still exists, manager Ken Macha said Tuesday.

Hoffman’s most recent outing entering Tuesday, a scoreless eighth inning during a 1-1 ballgame on Sunday in Colorado, earned him the decision in the Brewers’ eventual 6-1 victory. It was Hoffman’s fifth consecutive scoreless appearance.

Since he gave up three runs and took the loss on June 1 against the Marlins, Hoffman has allowed only three hits.

“After that outing, I’d feel pretty good about him coming in now,” Macha said. “I thought the other day was his best outing. … He certainly threw the ball well enough to close the game.”

Macha was quick to point out that the decision was not an easy one to make, especially considering the criticism that would come along with replacing current closer John Axford, who began the series against the Twins a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities.

“It puts you out on the plank,” Macha said. “But I think he’s done real well, so let’s just see. I’ve got that amongst the other pressures that are placed on me when I come to the ballpark every day.”

As for whether he would remove Axford from the role, Macha said it would “work itself out.”

At the same time, however, Macha recognizes what it would mean for Hoffman to get the four saves he needs to reach the 600-save mark.

“I certainly would like Trevor to reach his goal,” Macha said. “If that’s getting 600, I’d like to get that done for him, or 610, or whatever he wants.

“He hasn’t given up an earned run since June 1. The game was on the line the other day; we had a tie game with the heart of their order coming up. It’s a good inning for him.”

Edmonds returns to lineup in opener

MILWAUKEE — After he was unavailable to play over the weekend due to a shoulder injury, veteran Jim Edmonds was back in center field on Tuesday for the Brewers.

According to manager Ken Macha, the shoulder was fine.

“He said he’s fine, yeah,” Macha said. “He texted [trainer] Roger [Caplinger] and said he’s ready to go, so he’s in there.”

Edmonds, who will turn 40 on Sunday, got the start against Minnesota over former Twins center fielder Carlos Gomez, who was acquired by the Brewers during the offseason in a trade that sent shortstop J.J. Hardy west.

Since returning from the disabled list on May 21 at Target Field for the Brewers’ first Interleague series, Gomez has struggled at the plate.

After collecting five hits in Minneapolis, including a 2-for-4 night with a three-run homer in his first game back, Gomez is 12-for-80 (.150) since May 23.

Over the same stretch, Gomez has picked up five RBIs, stolen two bases and walked four times, while tallying 12 strikeouts.

“He’s struggling a little bit,” Macha said. “I think he has the tendency to over-swing a bit. He wants to hit it by them hard. He’s in a little bit of a funk.”

Fourth-rounder Morris works out with Brewers

MILWAUKEE — With his team off until Friday, first baseman Hunter Morris, the Brewers’ fourth-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, joined the club on Tuesday at Miller Park.

Morris, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound first baseman from Auburn University, has been busy since leaving home for Wisconsin early last week. He was assigned to the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, located in Appleton.

“I left my house on Sunday afternoon of last week and drove almost all the way to Milwaukee,” Morris said. “I got my physical Monday morning, got up to Appleton Monday night, and then 7:30 the next morning, I’m on a four-hour bus ride to Clinton, Iowa.”

Morris has not spent much time in Appleton yet, but he said that “it’s a nice place.” He added that he was excited to be there, but “more excited about the opportunity to play baseball.”

For Morris, who worked out at Miller Park as a high school senior, as well, the week has been filled with many unfamiliar places.

“That was the first time I’ve ever been to Clinton, Iowa,” Morris said. “And I know for a fact it won’t be the last. I’ve been all across the country but never to Clinton, Iowa.”

Morris, selected 129th overall by the Brewers earlier this month, was among the first Draft picks to sign with the club.

He said that he had no interest in prolonging the signing process.

“I was ready to start playing,” Morris said. “I didn’t have any interest in missing the whole summer negotiating and all that stuff. So I’m excited about getting out there and playing.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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