Reed trying to contribute as a pinch-hitter

Reed trying to contribute as a pinch-hitter

Reed trying to contribute as a pinch-hitter
MILWAUKEE -- Outfielder Jeremy Reed went from a Brewers Spring Training regular to a regular-season benchwarmer. It's not easy, especially because he realizes injured right fielder Corey Hart is starting to make progress with his rib-cage strain.

"I'd like to say no," Reed said when asked if he's been monitoring Hart's progress. "But it's hard not to notice."

Reed won an Opening Day job with the Brewers by batting .400 in 75 Cactus League at-bats, second most of anybody on the team. But through the team's first nine regular season games, Reed is hitless in only six pinch-hit at-bats, and he's still awaiting his first start.

He doesn't begrudge his lack of playing time. Reed said he's learned over the years to be a realist, and he's aware of the spark that newcomer Nyjer Morgan has provided the Brewers so far.

He also has experience in a reserve role. In 2009 with the Mets, Reed played in 126 games but made only 24 starts, and learned along the way just how difficult life as a pinch-hitter can be. Reed was fortunate to contribute early that year; in his second plate appearance of the season, he delivered a game-tying, two-out RBI single that forced a bottom of the ninth inning against the Marlins. It was a huge confidence boost, he said.

"When you get the first [hit] you can relax a little bit and believe in yourself," he said. "This game is as much confidence as anything.

"That's what I learned in New York. You have one at-bat and go 0-for-1, and sometimes it feels like you're 0-for-100. Or you go 1-for-1 and you're on top of the world, it feels like you're 100-for-100. You have to find a way to get that out of there and just have good at-bats.

"For me, my first six at-bats, my plate discipline hasn't been good. I'm probably thinking of result more than I should."

He tried to be more patient in his at-bat against Cubs reliever Jeff Samardzija on Saturday night, especially because Samardzija was struggling with his command. But Reed suddenly found himself in an 0-and-2 hole and struck out.

"In the end, you have to realize that you're never going to conquer pinch-hitting," Reed said.

He'll keep plugging away.

"You want to do something every day to show that you belong here, and I still have that mindset," Reed said. "It's just a totally different approach. You get one at-bat, one chance, and you try to make the most of it.

"... The main thing is that when you walk out those [clubhouse] doors, you leave everything behind. I've beat myself up before, and that doesn't get you anywhere but miserable, and sometimes carrying over to the next day. I know I can succeed in this role. I have to let it happen."