MILWAUKEE -- Outfielder Jeremy Reed went from a Brewers Spring Training regular to a regular-season benchwarmer. It's not easy, especially because he realizes injured right fielder Corey Hart is starting to make progress with his rib-cage strain."I'd like to say no," Reed said when asked if he's been monitoring Hart's progress. "But it's hard not to notice." Reed won an Opening Day job with the Brewers by batting .400 in 75 Cactus League at-bats, second most of anybody on the team. But through the team's first nine regular season games, Reed is hitless in only six pinch-hit at-bats, and he's still awaiting his first start. He doesn't begrudge his lack of playing time. Reed said he's learned over the years to be a realist, and he's aware of the spark that newcomer Nyjer Morgan has provided the Brewers so far. He also has experience in a reserve role. In 2009 with the Mets, Reed played in 126 games but made only 24 starts, and learned along the way just how difficult life as a pinch-hitter can be. Reed was fortunate to contribute early that year; in his second plate appearance of the season, he delivered a game-tying, two-out RBI single that forced a bottom of the ninth inning against the Marlins. It was a huge confidence boost, he said. "When you get the first [hit] you can relax a little bit and believe in yourself," he said. "This game is as much confidence as anything. "That's what I learned in New York. You have one at-bat and go 0-for-1, and sometimes it feels like you're 0-for-100. Or you go 1-for-1 and you're on top of the world, it feels like you're 100-for-100. You have to find a way to get that out of there and just have good at-bats. "For me, my first six at-bats, my plate discipline hasn't been good. I'm probably thinking of result more than I should." He tried to be more patient in his at-bat against Cubs reliever Jeff Samardzija on Saturday night, especially because Samardzija was struggling with his command. But Reed suddenly found himself in an 0-and-2 hole and struck out. "In the end, you have to realize that you're never going to conquer pinch-hitting," Reed said. He'll keep plugging away. "You want to do something every day to show that you belong here, and I still have that mindset," Reed said. "It's just a totally different approach. You get one at-bat, one chance, and you try to make the most of it.
"... The main thing is that when you walk out those [clubhouse] doors, you leave everything behind. I've beat myself up before, and that doesn't get you anywhere but miserable, and sometimes carrying over to the next day. I know I can succeed in this role. I have to let it happen."
Hart feels 'great' after taking part in outfield drills
MILWAUKEE -- Who knows whether it was the acupuncture or the huge dose of anti-inflammatories, but Brewers right fielder Corey Hart believes he has turned a major corner in his recovery from a left rib-cage strain.
Hart, who was hurt in a throwing drill back on Feb. 26, took part in throwing and outfield drills on Sunday and felt "great" -- so great that he made a leaping catch to rob a would-be home run off third-base coach Ed Sedar's fungo bat.
"I wasn't really expecting to do that," Hart said. "I went up without thinking, came down and thought, 'Oh, that didn't really hurt.' I'm excited. I think we'll do a lot more stuff this week so I can go play somewhere."
He's scheduled for batting practice beginning Tuesday, and if that goes well he could begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment in the middle of the Brewers' three-city trip. If that goes well, Hart is aiming to re-join the big league team for its next homestand, which begins April 22.
The progress is welcome news for the Brewers, who want to get back a bat that produced 31 home runs and 102 RBIs last season. It's also welcome news for Hart, who was so frustrated by his lack of progress that he tried acupuncture earlier in the season-opening homestand.
"They weren't huge on me doing that," Hart said sheepishly, referring to the Brewers' medical staff.
At the same time, he switched to a more powerful anti-inflammatory drug and quit swinging and throwing for five full days. When Hart resumed baseball activity on Saturday, he felt markedly better.
"He's full-out in the things he's doing right now," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He has no discomfort in his side, so they're expecting him to come really fast now."
Hart had a conversation Saturday night with his buddy J.J. Hardy, the Orioles' shortstop who suffered his own rib-cage strain in the second game of a doubleheader. The Orioles worry that Hardy could miss six weeks.
"It's not good," Hart said. "They thought mine was going to be minor, and here we are six weeks later. Maybe I'm not a quick healer. It's a tough thing -- you try to push it, and all of a sudden you're pushed back three days. It's crazy how everybody is getting them."
Roster move not necessary thanks to Narveson
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers starter Chris Narveson didn't just save the bullpen by delivering seven innings on Saturday night. He saved somebody's spot on the active roster.Had Narveson been knocked out early and the bullpen been emptied, manager Ron Roenicke said the Brewers were poised to make some roster moves Sunday morning to bring in a fresh arm. "It was really important for us to have [Narveson pitch deep]," Roenicke said. "It allowed us to not make some moves we thought we may have to make. That was big." Had the Brewers needed a fresh arm, one option might have been placing Takashi Saito on the disabled list with a stiff left hamstring. But Saito played catch on Sunday with no problems, and Roenicke said he was available in an emergency on Sunday and should be back to full strength by Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Parra ready for next step in rehab process
MILWAUKEE -- Left-hander Manny Parra knocked off some rust in his Class A outing on Saturday night. Now he's ready for the next step in his rehabilitation from a back injury."I'm definitely not dialed in," said Parra, who looked it in a two-inning, 22-pitch, four-strikeout performance for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. "But I do feel good, I feel healthy. Now, the next step is to polish." The Brewers announced on Sunday that Parra will pitch Tuesday night for Triple-A Nashville. He will likely make a series of appearances there before the Brewers add him to the active roster.