ST. LOUIS -- Mark Kotsay spelled slumping right fielder Corey Hart on Saturday and, in something of a reversal, might begin seeing time in center field, too."Kotsay, he's doing well, so we'll probably try to get him out there a little bit more," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Maybe he'll end up in center field one of these days." The day before, Roenicke said that he didn't want to use the 35-year-old Kotsay in center. "I don't," he said on Saturday with a smile. "He talked to me a couple of days ago about it. Physically, he's doing really well. I wouldn't do it too much, but to spell [Carlos Gomez] every once in a while, I may do it." That will almost certainly change when Nyjer Morgan, who will miss two to four weeks with a fractured left middle finger, returns from the disabled list. Until then, center field belongs to Gomez, who trudged into play on Saturday with a .266 on-base percentage. But he put together perhaps his best game of the season, with two hits -- including a big, two-run triple -- and a highlight-worthy catch at the wall in the first inning.
Sveum stumped by Brewers' slump
ST. LOUIS -- Hitting coach Dale Sveum is just as puzzled as anybody about the team's early-May slump."As a hitting coach, you usually have one project or two projects," Sveum said. "When you have 12, [it's a challenge]. And it's really not mechanical. These guys aren't going through mechanical problems. Half of it's good pitching, half of it's the little stresses becoming involved now." Sveum and manager Ron Roenicke tried to eliminate some of those little stresses on Saturday by canceling batting practice before the game against the Cardinals. It was time, they decided, for a break. From the start of their current road trip, on April 29, through the near-perfect game by Cardinals left-hander Jamie Garcia on Friday night, the Brewers had the fewest hits (40) and runs (12) and the lowest batting average (.161) of all 30 Major League teams. They carried a seven-game losing streak into Saturday afternoon's game. "I don't think I've ever seen a six- or seven-day string of no runs, no hits," Sveum said. "We have a lot of proven hitters who have had pretty good careers swinging the bats, and [it's surprising] to have it all come together at one time -- even our big boys, [Ryan] Braun and Prince [Fielder], who had an unbelievable first month. "I've been around a long time and know that true hitting is contagious, both ways. And not to give pitchers too much credit, but every pitcher we've faced is coming in to our game where their last two or three starts have been phenomenal, and they've kept it up." Sveum wonders how many other lineups have gone through similar slumps over the past year-plus, considering the resurgence of pitching in Major League Baseball. He said that Albert Pujols leaned over to first-base coach Garth Iorg on Friday night and said something along the lines of, "Two weeks ago we had the same thing. Nobody on this team could hit." "At the same time, we have some really good hitters, and there have to be some adjustments made to sustain innings," Sveum said. "We probably could have walked quite a bit on this road trip, and we're swinging out of the zone on 3-1, 3-2 pitches. We're not sustaining that inning. People are trying to hit their way on when they get that three-ball count instead of still just getting a ball to drive. That's part of slumps." Of canceling batting practice on Saturday, he said, "You've got to try something. ... Sometimes we use BP as a crutch, and sometimes BP can put people in slumps, because they're out there thinking too much. There are thoughts that create a lot of misfortune." "Sometimes it's a way to get out of a routine that hasn't been going well," Roenicke said. "Over the years in Anaheim, we didn't really have good offense [most seasons], and so we ended up doing 'show and go' a few times."
* The Brewers hosted approximately 50 fathers and sons at Busch Stadium on Saturday as part of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's "Fatherhood Initiative." Frontier Airlines provided the transportation for the second straight year, and M&I Bank gave each child a $1,000 savings bond for higher education.* Prince Fielder gave Carlos Gomez a hard time for being the latest Brewer to shave his facial hair amid the team's hitting slump. Corey Hart and Casey McGehee have also cleaned up in recent days. "Come on, you're just advertising that we're [struggling]," Fielder chided when he noticed that Gomez's goatee is gone. * The Brewers' two-hour, two-minute loss to the Cardinals on Friday was their shortest game since a one-hour, 58-minute affair in Houston on April 14, 2004.