Gennett continuing to show versatility, learn utility role

Gennett continuing to show versatility, learn utility role

PHOENIX -- Brewers utility-man-in-training Scooter Gennett probably completed his Spring Training tour of the diamond after starting in right field against the Rockies on Wednesday, manager Craig Counsell said.

Gennett has also made spring starts at second base -- where he played Thursday against the D-backs -- third base and left field.

"Things can change, but that's all that's planned," Counsell said.

Is it a given that Gennett makes the Opening Day roster in his new utility role?

"Is it a given? I don't think we're there yet, as far as how everything on the roster shakes out," Counsell said. "I do think what I've gotten from Scooter right now is that he can play the outfield. I'm comfortable putting him in the outfield. I would be comfortable putting him at third base. And those are big pluses from my perspective."

Gennett on Spring Training

Gennett would not be opposed to trying more positions.

"I told them, 'If I'm going to play multiple positions, why not play all of them?'" Gennett said. "Short, first, center -- just in case. You never know what could happen. Get them to see me out there and make a couple plays, and see me make a couple plays, and then it's in the back of their minds like, 'Hey, he can do it.'"

Gennett was out for about 10 days at the start of the month with a sore wrist, then he was in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday because a family member had surgery (it was "highly successful," Gennett said). But he was back in camp on Thursday to resume busy work days that begin at 8 a.m. on a back field, working at a different defensive position each day.

That early work is as important, if not more important, than his five or so innings each game, Counsell said.

Gennett robs Herrera of a hit

In Wednesday's game, Gennett handled his first chance in right without issue in the second inning, then was tested by a Mark Reynolds double in the fourth. Gennett broke in, then retreated for a ball that went to the wall.

"That was tough," Gennett said. "I didn't think he hit it that good. You never know with that guy -- sometimes he'll hit it off the end and it'll go five feet, and then he'll hit one good and it'll go 700 [feet]. When he hit it, I started coming in and I heard [center fielder Keon] Broxton go, 'Back, back!' I'm like, 'Chill, man, I've got this.' Then it's over my head.

"It was good, though. That was one of the first balls I've gotten like that. I've gotten them in BP; it's a little different in the game."

Asked about Gennett's attitude toward the change, Counsell said, "He's been good about it from the start, and that hasn't changed. I think that's one thing I don't ever question about Scooter, his attitude is always, 'Let's go. Let's do it.'"

Gennett has one Minor League option remaining, but he has mostly played in the Majors since debuting in 2013. He hit a career-high 14 home runs last season.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.