Without Scott Podsednik in the leadoff hole or speedy players like Trent Durrington and Dave Krynzel on the bench, the Brewers have become a station-to-station offense. None of the current bench players aside from Bill Hall are particularly fleet of foot, and among the starters, only Brady Clark and Junior Spivey are consistent stolen base threats.
"I'm not going to steal 70 bases," said Clark, referring to Podsednik's Major League-leading total from last season. "If I run and get thrown out, it's just being aggressive. I'm not worried if I get thrown out 50 times this year. That's happens. That's part of the game."
Especially under manager Ned Yost. He has been more aggressive with hit-and-run calls this season, arguing that, "we've got to try to score runs."
"I think there's a difference between being aggressive and reckless," Clark saod. "If you're aggressive and you get thrown out, so be it. Sometimes a guy has to catch the ball and make a perfect throw. I'm not your typical stolen base guy. I'm going to get my share, but I'm also going to get thrown out my share."
Clark was 2-for-5 on stolen base attempts, but none of his unsuccessful attempts were on straight steals. Two were botched hit-and-runs, and the third was a pickoff.
"That was a mistake," Clark said. "Still, I don't think you can sit around and wait for the longball."
The hit-and-run is one of baseball's dying arts, according to Nelson. He stole 187 bases in the Majors. When he played for the Texas Rangers, Nelson batted in front of shortstop Toby Harrah, who would sometimes signal directly to Nelson that the hit and run was on by lifting his top hand briefly off his bat.
Nowadays, the Brewers wait for signals from the dugout for hit and run plays.
"We have the guys that can do it, but sometimes you don't get a pitch to handle," Nelson said.
More on speed: The team's limited speed was apparent in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. Down a run, Lyle Overbay drew a leadoff walk from Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen.
Yost considered using a pinch-runner, but did not have any options. Nelson said he was clocking Isringhausen's delivery to home plate and even considered sending Overbay, who has all of three steals in his last three professional seasons, including two last year.
Overbay said he made a bet with Colorado's Todd Helton in Spring Training that he would steal more bases this season. Helton already has one stolen base this year.
Health report: The slumping Brewers offense was again minus two of its biggest left-handed threats on Tuesday, when Geoff Jenkins (illness) and Russell Branyan (sore shoulder) remained sidelined.
Jenkins actually suited up and appeared in the dugout during batting practice, something he was unable to do on Monday because of an energy-draining bout of illness. There is no timetable for his return.
"He really just needs to get his strength back," Yost said. "It takes a while to get over this, and I don't want it being a two-or three-week ordeal. We have to find a way to keep our heads above water."
Chris Magruder started in Jenkins' place, leaving the Brewers with no backup outfielders. Hall began working in the outfield during Spring Training, and Yost said Jeff Cirillo has been taking fly balls in the corner spots this week "just to cover our bases."
Feeling alright: Spivey is often seen during batting practice stretching and rotating his left shoulder. Spivey missed the second half of last season after shoulder surgery, and suffered a minor setback in Spring Training trying to break up a double play, but Yost says he is fine.
"He's 100 percent," Yost said. "I read the medical reports every day and he's not even getting treatment on it."
Ghost town: No word from the Dodgers of any haunting at the team hotel this week.
According to the team's press notes, some Dodgers claim the Pfister Hotel is haunted. During a stay there in 2001, Adrian Beltre heard knocking noises on his door, while the television and air conditioning repeatedly turned on and off. He also claimed to have heard pounding noises from the other side of his headboard like a man hitting his open hand against the wood.
On deck: The Brewers hope for better results away from Miller Park when they begin a three-city, eight-game road trip with a night game at Houston on Wednesday. Right-hander Ben Sheets, another Brewer who has been ill of late, is scheduled to face Astros ace Roy Oswalt in a 7:05 p.m. CT start.