Gomez's hot start earns him lineup spot

Gomez's hot start earns him lineup spot

ST. LOUIS -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke doesn't have an easy decision in center field these days when he's filling out the lineup card.

Carlos Gomez, Nyjer Morgan and Norichika Aoki have all contributed in different ways and Gomez and Morgan have had hot bats lately.

After Morgan started in center for the series opener on Friday night, when he had a first-inning single and scored on a double by Aramis Ramirez, Gomez got the call on Saturday afternoon.

Gomez has been the Brewers' hottest hitter this season despite splitting time. He entered Saturday's game hitting .361 (13-for-36) with three doubles, two triples, one home run, five RBIs, seven runs scored, five stolen bases, a .378 on-base percentage, .639 slugging and 1.017 OPS.

"If you go back in at-bats, it's been going on for quite a while and that's part of the reason why I wanted to get him in there more," Roenicke said. "I don't know. Maybe this is gonna be more of what Gomey is going to be. He's not chasing pitches. He's hitting the offspeed stuff. The other night he comes in and a good curveball, first pitch, and he hits a home run off it.

"That's stuff I didn't see a lot of from Gomey. Especially early on in his career when he was with Minnesota, I didn't see that. He's doing some things that lead us to believe -- I think everybody thinks there is more in him because of his physical abilities -- but I think there is more in him."

The 26-year-old right-handed hitter has never had higher than a .258 batting average in a Major League season. He hit .225 a year ago with eight homers, 24 RBIs, 16 steals and had a .276 OBP in 94 games.

Roenicke doesn't have an answer for why Gomez, in his sixth Major League season, has had such a dramatic change in his performance this year. But the manager is hoping the center fielder continues to do the things that are making him successful.

"This guy, you want him out there as much as you can get him out there," he said. "If he can hit and he's doing those type things, he's going to be out there a lot."