Notes: Jenkins focused on RBIs

Notes: Jenkins focused on RBIs

CHICAGO -- Geoff Jenkins is mired in the longest power outage of his career, but the longest-tenured Brewer is not exactly stressing about it.

Jenkins entered Monday's game against the Cubs batting .260 with seven home runs and 44 RBIs and had not homered since May 20, a span of 108 at-bats. Before this year, he had never gone more than 80 at-bats without a long ball.

At his current pace, Jenkins will hit 15 home runs this season. He has not finished with fewer than 20 homers in any of his six seasons with at least 100 games played.

"If I get to the end of the year, if my power was down but I drove in more runs, I could be OK with that," said Jenkins, who had 87 RBIs in 2005 but this season is on pace for 97. "I've been really happy with my swings, especially with guys on. All you can do is keep working hard and taking good swings, and the rest will take care of itself."

Jenkins entered Monday's game batting .315 with runners in scoring position, 79 points higher than last season and 54 points higher than his career mark entering the year.

"Home runs are the result of good swings," Jenkins said. "Home runs are not the most important thing. Driving in runs is the main thing."

Jenkins could have more opportunities to do that this week because manager Ned Yost bumped his right fielder back up to the No. 3 hole on Monday. Jenkins called it, "back where I should be," but he made it clear that he and Yost have not been at odds over the batting order.

"I just need to play good," said Jenkins. "That's all."

Of Jenkins' 3,776 career at-bats before Monday, 1,629 came as the No. 3 hitter, his most familiar spot. He leads the Brewers with 62 starts as the No. 3 hitter this season but had not batted there since June 12. In nine games after Yost dropped him to sixth or seventh in the order, Jenkins batted .433 (11-for-26) with three doubles and seven RBIs.

Yost has started platooning Jenkins with Corey Hart in right field, with Hart starting against left-handed opponents. The Brewers will face four right-handers in their series at Wrigley Field beginning Monday with Greg Maddux, against whom Jenkins entered as a career .439 hitter.

"I want to play every day, but I need to play better against [left-handers]," said Jenkins, batting .121 this season against lefties. "How do you do that? You get better pitches, and hit them."

Talk it out: Yost formally listed right-hander Carlos Villanueva as the probable starter for Friday's game at Minnesota, meaning Rick Helling has been bumped to the bullpen. Yost said he discussed the decision with Helling on Monday afternoon.

Yost removed Helling after the right-hander needed 68 pitches to get through three innings against the Royals on Sunday but limited the damage to one run. Helling said he would have liked to pitch deeper into the game, but stopped short of criticizing the move.

"That's the competitor in him," Yost said. "He's a battler, and he's always been a battler when he's 100 percent. He's not 100 percent healthy right now."

Helling has pitched through stiffness since returning from a sprained right elbow.

"The way things were going [Sunday] I could see it was going to be a very low scoring game on our side, with our history against [Royals starter Mark] Redman," Yost said. "I didn't feel like I could take a chance at them throwing two or three quick runs on the board. He understood. I talked to him about it today. He knows.

"He's important on our team," Yost said. "It doesn't matter if it's starting or in the 'pen. His attitude and his preparation and his ability to get guys out is very important."

Stepping up: Minor League right-hander Yovani Gallardo, the Brewers' second-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, made his debut for Double-A Huntsville on Monday night. He went 6-3 with a 2.09 ERA 13 first-half starts for Class A Brevard County before a promotion.

"He reminds a lot of us of Javier Vasquez of the White Sox," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin wrote in an MLB.com online chat last week. "He has command of four pitches and has great poise and composure on the mound. He also is a very good competitor. As you recall, he pitched two scoreless innings against the Japanese National Team in Spring Training and opened everyone's eyes."

Last call: Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, on the 15-day disabled list because of blisters on the tip of his middle finger, threw in the bullpen on Monday and could be ready for his first Minor League rehabilitation start by Thursday. Triple-A Nashville plays at home against Memphis that night. ... Bill Hall returned to the lineup on Monday after missing parts of the last two games with what he believes was food poisoning. "I slept 11 hours last night, so I should be good," said Hall, who believes the culprit was a cheese and sausage tray at Kauffman Stadium. ... Yost confirmed that J.J. Hardy has suspended baseball activities while nursing an ankle injury. Hardy has been bothered by a loose tendon on the outside of his right ankle that painfully "snaps" out of place.

On deck: Zach Jackson will be matched up against Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano, who has won his last three decisions and six of his last seven. The Brewers beat him here at Wrigley Field on April 30, when Chris Capuano pitched a five-hit shutout.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.