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Notes: Weeks' glove catching up

Notes: Weeks' glove catching up

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ST. LOUIS -- With plays like the one he made in the sixth inning of Saturday's win over St. Louis, Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks is showing that his glove is catching up to his promising bat.

Weeks' defensive struggles have been well-documented since he was Milwaukee's top draft pick in 2003, but he made a number of slick plays in a 3-2 Brewers win including a backhanded stop of Scott Rolen's hard-hit grounder in the sixth. Weeks threw to first baseman Prince Fielder, who made a diving stop of his own earlier in the inning, to end the frame.

Given the strides he has made defensively, particularly with his backhand, does Weeks now consider such plays routine?

"The way I look at it, if I would have booted that, it would have been an error," Weeks said. "So my point is, if it would have been an error, it was a routine play."

His manager politely disagreed.

"No, that wasn't a routine play," Ned Yost said. "That was an above-average play right there."

Weeks and Fielder have both impressed Yost with their defensive progress under bench coach Dale Sveum. Both were first-round draft picks whose scouting reports included questions about their glovework, but both have played themselves at minimum into average defenders.

"They're real focused on becoming complete players," Yost said. "You may get to the big leagues on your offense, but they both want to be complete-type players so now they're really focused defensively. You can see the difference. ... If you're motivated, you'll find a way, and these kids are motivated."

Weeks said he never let the criticisms get under his skin.

"Honestly, the biggest thing is that I have confidence in myself," said Weeks, whose two-run homer Saturday provided the winning margin. "People are going to write things about you, say things about you, and it's up to you to do something about it."

In the Minors: Triple-A Nashville's Ryan Braun homered in his first three at-bats Saturday night, but also committed his first throwing error -- sound familiar?

Braun, a third baseman and Milwaukee's top offensive prospect, homered in five different Spring Training games with the Brewers. In each game he homered, he also committed an error.

"He always covers it," Yost said. "He may let in one or two, but he drives in three or four."

Braun's defensive issues cost him a chance to make Milwaukee's Opening Day roster. Yost said in Spring Training that had Braun even played "average" at third base, he would have made the cut.

Braun finished with five RBIs and scored four times in Nashville's 14-1 win at New Orleans, and became the fifth Sounds player in the franchise's 30-year history to belt three home runs in a game. Craig Wilson was the last to do it, in 2000.

The Brewers' top pitching prospect also had a big night in Nashville's win. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo notched his first Triple-A win after striking out 12 batters and allowing three hits in six scoreless innings. The 21-year-old also went 2-for-3 at the plate including a double and run scored.

Did you know? Yost wore No. 42 as the Braves' bullpen coach in 1997, when Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson's number throughout the league. Yost was given the option of keeping the number, but opted instead to switch back to No. 5, which he wore as a player in Milwaukee.

"I said, 'Go ahead and retire it,'" Yost said.

He wore it again Sunday, and so did everybody else in uniform for the Brewers and Cardinals. The teams celebrated the 60th anniversary of the date Robinson broke the sport's color barrier.

Yost has worn lots of numbers throughout his career. He wore No. 5 with the Brewers, then was given No. 10 after being traded to Texas in December 1983 for another catcher, Jim Sundberg. But the popular Sundberg had also worn No. 10, so Yost switched to No. 7.

When he signed with the Expos in 1985, Yost was given No. 14.

"The last player to wear 14 as a Montreal Expo was Pete Rose, and then the next player after me was Andres Galarraga -- so those are three pretty good hitters," Yost said, setting up a joke.

Yost wore No. 52 when he began his coaching career in Atlanta, then gave that up to pitcher Jay Howell, who wanted to wear 52 to honor late teammate Tim Crews, who was killed in a boating accident. The Braves gave Yost No. 42 instead.

When the Brewers hired Yost to manage the team in October 2002, No. 5 was owned by outfielder Geoff Jenkins. So Yost opted for No. 3 to honor his late best friend, legendary race car driver Dale Earnhardt.

On deck: Lefty Chris Capuano will be working on seven days' rest when he leads the Brewers against the Reds on Monday in Cincinnati. Eric Milton will start for the Reds in a matchup of left-handers.

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

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