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Brewers scramble to replace Weeks

5/18/2009

The Brewers have lost their second baseman for the rest of the season. Weeks From Tom Haudricourt:

    It's a tough blow for the Brewers and also for Weeks, who was off to the best start of his career with a .272 batting average, nine homers, 24 RBI and a .517 slugging percentage.
    --snip--

    Melvin said he wasn't sure yet which player would come up from the minors to replace Weeks on the roster. In tonight's game against St. Louis, Craig Counsell is playing second and rookie Mat Gamel is making his first start at third base.

    --snip--

    One option to bring up from the minors is 2B Hernan Iribarren, who is batting .311 at Class AAA Nashville. But whomever comes out will not be a regular player. Melvin said he'd have a replacement by game time tomorrow in Houston.

    Melvin did say that shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar would begin to get some action at second base at Nashville in the event there is another injury. But Melvin said Escobar would not be coming up now.

    For the present, Counsell will handle the bulk of the duty at second with right-handed-hitting Casey McGehee getting some starts against lefties.

Herman Iribarren is playing well in the Pacific Coast League -- and yes, Nashville is a proud member of the Pacific Coast League -- but he's not a real prospect (or at least he wasn't considered one two months ago, when neither Baseball America nor John Sickels ranked Iribarren among the Brewers' top 30 prospects).
Alcides Escobar is a top prospect, but he's a shortstop and much of his value is derived from his defense and he's not moving J.J. Hardy off shortstop anytime soon. At the moment, he can't help the Brewers out of this predicament. Later, he (or Hardy) might be quite useful if the Brewers decide to deal for a second baseman.

Right now, it's Gamel who's the real help. No, he probably won't set any fielding records at third base. But between him and Counsell (both left-handed hitters) and Bill Hall, there's no obvious reason why the Brewers can't get reasonable production at both third and second base. Yes, the loss of Weeks is a serious blow, leaving the club with little tolerance for other crises. It isn't necessarily debilitating, though. This is when the manager earns his salary.