Notes: Cirillo's versatility a boon

Notes: Cirillo's versatility a boon

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ned Yost knows exactly what he has in veteran infielder Jeff Cirillo.

"He's the perfect guy to have on this ballclub," Yost said. "You can put him up there and he can do anything you ask him to do. Hit-and-run, bunt, he can squeeze, he can hit and he can do whatever."

That includes trying a new position. Earlier in the week after shortstop J.J. Hardy went on the disabled list, making Bill Hall the everyday shortstop, it shortened the number of options Yost had on his bench. Without any prompting, Cirillo was taking fly balls in the outfield just in case the situation called for him to play the position.

Yost said the 36-year-old Cirillo "could probably still play every day," but accepting his role as a part-time player has contributed to his success in Milwaukee.

"I think that he saw the light at the end of the tunnel, as far as his career went," Yost said. "And he went back and realized that, 'Hey, I've got four, five, six good years left.' Those types of players are very valuable."

Entering Sunday's game, Cirillo was batting .381 with an on-base percentage of .435 in 24 games. Cirillo credited seeing a Paradise Valley, Ariz., sports psychologist two years ago while with the Mariners as part of the reason he's enjoying a great season thus far.

"He told me, 'Beating yourself up isn't working anymore,'" Cirillo said. "He taught me to celebrate your success."

Shifting his focus from what he did wrong to what he did right has helped him, also.

"Let's say you have seven horrible swings and one great one," Cirillo said. "Even if you trick your mind into concentrating on that great swing, somebody might say, 'How are you doing?' And I'll say, 'I'm great. I'm doing great. Everything's great.' You are what you think you are."

The wealth of knowledge Cirillo has brought to the Brewers hasn't been lost on Yost. When asked if he could see Cirillo as a manager one day, Yost said, "Yeah, if he wanted to he sure could be."

Injury updates: One day after throwing 30 pitches off a mound, Rick Helling said his right elbow wasn't sore and he could continue to rehab in the bullpen, most likely in Cincinnati. Yost said right-hander Tomo Ohka is scheduled to start throwing off flat ground next week, early in the Brewers' 10-game, 11-day road trip.

Finding a spot: With outfielder Brady Clark raising his batting average 52 points in his last 12 games, it seemed only a matter of time before he would be moved up in the lineup.

That, however, will depend on who plays catcher that day, according to Yost. With Chad Moeller playing Saturday, Clark was moved to second in the lineup. When Damian Miller plays, Clark will most likely hit eighth in the lineup. The exception was Sunday, when Clark hit leadoff to give Rickie Weeks a day off.

Yost said Clark would be hitting eighth again on Monday.

"I like what Brady's been doing in the eight-hole," Yost said. "He's been doing well. He's balancing our lineup."

One good thing: The only bright spot Yost saw in Saturday's 16-10 loss was the pitching of reliever Jorge De La Rosa.

The left-hander pitched a career-high 3 1/3 innings and did not allow a hit, but walked three and was charged with two runs. De La Rosa threw a season-high 61 pitches.

"The only thing positive thing about our pitching performance tonight was Jorge De La Rosa," Yost said after the game. "He really came on and did a nice job. Outside of that, we just didn't pitch very well."

Ben Hendrickson started Saturday's game and was removed without recording an out in the first inning. Yost said Hendrickson was available to pitch in relief on Sunday, and the team doesn't need a fifth starter again until May 30. Yost said he had not decided whether or not De La Rosa was an option for that role.

Last call: Entering Sunday's game, Hall had a nine-game hitting streak. ... Geoff Jenkins has at least one RBI in eight of his last nine games. ... Carlos Lee had two hits in his last 21 at-bats. ... Dan Kolb hasn't retired the first batter in each of his last seven outings.

On deck: Right-hander Dave Bush will get the start against Bronson Arroyo on Monday in Cincinnati. First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. CT.

John Sahly is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.