Lefties Thames, Shaw face slew of southpaws

Brewers want corner infielders to prepare for all situations

Lefties Thames, Shaw face slew of southpaws

PHOENIX -- Eric Thames returned to the Brewers' lineup Saturday after sitting out a game with a sore right knee, and he saw something he's seen less than expected this spring: a right-handed pitcher.

Both of the Brewers' left-handed additions to the lineup -- first baseman Thames and third baseman Travis Shaw -- have been fed a steady diet of left-handed pitching this spring, a challenge both players said they welcome. Thames homered off Cubs lefty Mike Montgomery on Tuesday in Mesa, Ariz., and Shaw homered against D-backs southpaw Robbie Ray two days later at Maryvale Baseball Park.

"I was talking to Shaw, and it's like we're facing all lefties," Thames said. "That's awesome, because that's all we're going to see from the sixth, seventh inning on."

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Said Shaw: "It's nice to see results every once in a while, but in Spring Training, it's all about feel. Especially against lefties, that comfort level is starting to come back after not playing against a lot of them last year."

Shaw, with Boston last season, fell into a platoon after the Brewers traded right-handed-hitting third baseman Aaron Hill to the Red Sox. So Shaw mostly batted against right-handed pitchers in the second half.

In Milwaukee, there is the potential Shaw will share time with Hernan Perez at third. But the Brewers would prefer Shaw claim the position outright, since Perez is versatile enough to get at-bats elsewhere playing in the infield and outfield.

Seeing so many Spring Training left-handers, Shaw said, "is perfect for me. Right now, I'm seeing the ball, I'm not really chasing a ton of pitches."

Thames also has a potential platoon partner at first base if Jesus Aguilar makes the club.

"I wasn't really worried about results [entering Spring Training]," Thames said. "I just wanted to see the pitching. Just getting the timing down and trying to springboard into the season. ... You've got to ride the waves. Guys that are hot now, they'll start to cool off at the end and into the season. It doesn't count [in Spring Training]."

He was a late scratch Friday with soreness in his knee, but he said there was no structural problem. Thames chalked it up common Spring Training soreness.

Santana scratched

The Brewers scratched right fielder Domingo Santana from the lineup Saturday with a bruised left hip, which he injured on a slide. Scooter Gennett started in Santana's place.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com 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.