MILWAUKEE -- When the Brewers signed third baseman Aramis Ramirez before the season, they hoped he could help replace the production they lost when Prince Fielder went to Detroit.Now more than 100 games into the season, manager Ron Roenicke said Ramirez has done just about everything he could have hoped for. "I thought he was going to be good, and I think he's very good," Roenicke said. "Production sometimes depends on what's happening in front of you, and the opportunities you get. But when it's on the line, when you need a hit, he has definitely been one of the guys that I think comes through a lot in big situations." Entering Wednesday, Ramirez was batting .295 with 70 RBIs, good for second on the team behind Ryan Braun (74). He also led the National League in extra-base hits (54) and was tied for the Major League lead in doubles (37). Ramirez has been particularly hot in the second half of the season. Known to be a relatively slow starter, Ramirez headed into Wednesday's game batting .370 with six home runs and 25 RBIs since the beginning of July. He had recorded a hit in nine straight games that he started and hadn't gone two straight games without a base knock since June 25-26. "I just try to put the barrel on the ball," Ramirez said. "I haven't had as many home runs as I'm used to, but I'm still driving the ball, so that's a good sign." Tuesday marked Ramirez's 100th game of the season. He connected on his second home run in as many games to give him 15 on the season. In the same amount of games last season, he had 19 home runs, but his batting average and RBI numbers are both better than at the same point last year. Roenicke said Ramirez would be having "some kind of year" if he had started the way he's playing now. He also said the Brewers still miss Fielder in a lot of ways -- particularly his clutch bat, 38 home runs and big personality -- but Ramirez brings some things to the table that the slugging first baseman did not. "I think trying to figure out how to replace [Fielder], I think Aramis has done a great job in replacing what we needed for this team to go offensively and have a No. 4 hitter," Roenicke said. "And he's been good defensively, so we have a plus that way, too."
Parra faces hitters in first live action of rehab
MILWAUKEE -- For the first time during Manny Parra's recovery from an impingement in his left shoulder, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has an idea of when the left-hander might return.Parra pitched to Travis Ishikawa and Cody Ransom before Wednesday's game in his first live action since July 24. Roenicke, along with bullpen coach Lee Tunnel, pitching coach Rick Kranitz and others, watched Parra's simulated action and came away encouraged by the result. "The ball came out of his hand good," Roenicke said. "So we're going to talk to him and see where he is, and see if he's ready to pitch on this road trip." The Brewers have an off-day on Thursday before heading on the road to play the Astros and Rockies. Assuming no setbacks, Roenicke said Parra will travel with the team and won't head to the Minor Leagues for any rehab appearances. Parra's last outing before the injury did not go well, as he gave up four earned runs. However, he had made nine straight appearances without surrendering a run before that game. The 29-year-old reliever owns a 4.70 ERA on the year, and he's struck out 51 batters in 44 innings.
Shaun Marcum is set to make his first Minor League rehab appearance on Thursday for Class A Wisconsin. The outing will mark his first live game since June 14, as he's been sidelined with a tight right elbow. The Brewers also announced that Marcum will make a second rehab start next Wednesday against Beloit. After going with a platoon in center field for much of the season, Roenicke said Carlos Gomez will continue to receive the majority of the starts at that position. Gomez, who sometimes struggles with plate discipline, entered Wednesday batting .300 with 10 RBIs and four home runs in his last 21 games. "His at-bats, overall, definitely are better," Roenicke said. "We know he can play good defense. If he gets on base, he's going to steal. It really comes down to the at-bats. Everything else is good with his game. When he's hitting well, he's great to have in the lineup."
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.