Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made a surprise move by sending down utility infielder Brooks Conrad, who has had a very active spring, to Class AAA Nashville and keeping first baseman Travis Ishikawa on the roster.
The move is surprising because the Brewers now only have one backup infielder in Cesar Izturis and three potential first basemen. Conrad has seen plenty of playing time as he has played in 28 games with 54 plate appearances. In that span he is batting .204 with four home runs, seven RBI, 12 walks and 14 strikeouts. The batting average and strike outs are most likely what made up Roencike’s mind when he was forced to make a decision.
“Looking at the needs and what we see, we’re pretty good in what (first baseman Mat) Gamel is giving us,” said Roenicke, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “But Ishikawa is definitely a plus defender and we think he’s a real good pinch-hitter off the bench. We felt we lost a great pinch-hitter from last year in (Mark) Kotsay and we’re looking at a guy that’s got some experience and he has done a nice job for San Francisco in the major leagues. So that’s what we’re looking at there. ”
By far the weakest part of the Brewers is their bench and Roenicke is looking for someone to be a difference maker in a tight situation. He believes Ishikawa can be that guy because of his proven experience and what he has done for Milwaukee this spring. In 54 at-bats, Ishikawa has batted .259 with two home runs, eight RBI, 11 walks and 15 strikeouts.
If for whatever reason Izturis as the lone infielder does not work the Brewers can always make a change and bring Conrad back up from Nashville. However, for now Roenicke is going to go with this lineup and see where it takes him.