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Roenicke sticks by struggling Weeks, Hart

October 15, 2011
MILWAUKEE — Even as Rickie Weeks continues to struggle both offensively and defensively in the postseason, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has no plans to change what he is doing at second base.That is largely due to the fact that Roenicke knows just how valuable Weeks can be to his offense when he is swinging the bat well, especially in the No. 5 spot behind sluggers Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.

“I think you stick with him,” Roenicke said. “Rickie’s a guy that — our lineup depends on Rickie. We depend on him swinging the bat well. He protects Prince. He’s got the ability to, if you get a couple guys on base, drive a ball out of the ballpark.”

Weeks has batted just .135 in 10 postseason games, picking up five hits in 37 at-bats. His defense also has been an issue, with Weeks committing his fourth error of the postseason in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, tying him for the fifth-most errors by a second baseman in a single postseason.

When he has gotten hits, though, they’ve come in big moments for the Brewers. Weeks is tied for sixth on the team with three RBIs this postseason, and he’s also sixth with four runs scored. Of his five hits, three have gone for extra bases, as Weeks has a double, a triple and a home run to his credit.

Weeks clearly has not gotten back to 100 percent after severely spraining his left ankle in late July, and he likely won’t be through the rest of the postseason.

“We felt like coming into the playoffs that we needed Rickie. We need his presence in there behind Prince,” Roenicke said. “And I know his swings have gotten better, but I know there’s still some things that he’s not locked in on, both offensively and defensively.”

Along with Weeks, leadoff hitter Corey Hart is another Brewers regular that Roenicke has been sticking with — for the most part — as he tries to fight through some postseason struggles.

After batting .238 (5-for-21) in the NL Division Series against the D-backs, Hart has just four hits in 16 at-bats for a .250 average over four games in the NLCS against the Cardinals. Hart, like Weeks, also has had some issues defensively, misplaying a few balls in right field that have cost the Brewers runs.

A positive sign for the Brewers is Hart’s three-hit night in Game 5, which came one day after he sat out Game 4 in favor of veteran outfielder Mark Kotsay.

Although it’s possible a day off may be similarly beneficial for Weeks, it does not appear to fit into Roenicke’s plans.

“We’ve talked about it,” Roenicke said. “We talked about it before the series started about some of those things, and you always talk about them, because you’re always trying to figure out what’s the best thing to do. It would be like — if Prince is struggling, do we take Prince out of there? Braun’s struggling, do you take him out? No.”

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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Categories: Uncategorized
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