Weeks hopes homer can get him going

Weeks hopes homer can get him going

NEW YORK -- Rickie Weeks returned to the Brewers' lineup as promised on Tuesday and went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. Manager Ron Roenicke is hoping desperately that the one hit was a big one.

Weeks' seventh-inning home run in an 8-0 win over the Mets snapped a funk that had grown to 0-for-21. It came a few hours after Roenicke had explained why he thinks his second baseman is slumping and why Weeks continues to bat near the top of the lineup.

"The thing is, we need Rickie to swing the bat," Roenicke said. "That's the biggest thing. I mean, for our offense to really go, we need Rickie to swing the bat well. So how do we get Rickie to swing the bat the best?

"Is it to leave him second? Is it to put him eighth? Those are the discussions I had with Rick. Where he is, is where he thinks he has a chance more quickly to be where he needs to be."

Weeks' input in the matter, Roenicke said, is important.

"It is important, because it's mental," Roenicke said. "The hitting part, unless you have an injury, is not physical. It's mental. ... If mentally he is better at a certain spot [in the lineup], then we try to do that."

Whatever the cause, Weeks has not hit this season. After striking out twice and grounding out in his first three at-bats Tuesday, Weeks' first start since he was struck on the left hand by a wayward pitch Friday night, he sent a pitch from Mets reliever D.J. Carrasco to the left-field seats.

Weeks is hitting .159 and is tied for the National League lead for strikeouts (44).

"Even before the homer, it was nice to see good swings from him," Roenicke said. "He's healthy."

Before Tuesday, his swings had been less encouraging. You don't need to be a hitting coach to see that Weeks has been diving out over the plate after swings. But the causes of those unbalanced swings, Roenicke said, are mental.

"Mentally, there's something going on that makes you do that," Roenicke said. "He probably swings 50-100 times a day [in the batting cage] the right way. So why, when you get in a game, do you have a swing that's completely different than what you do in practice? Something changes up here [in the player's head]. You're thinking, 'Hey, this guy is going to pitch me away, I've got to go out and hit this ball.' The next thing you know, you're diving out over the plate."

Weeks gets some say about his spot in the batting order, because he started the All-Star Game last season and has been a productive hitter over the healthy portions of his eight-plus seasons with the Brewers. But Roenicke reserved the right to drop Weeks in the order should his slump persist.

"It's not as easy as everybody things -- 'Well, just move him down,'" Roenicke said. "That's easy to say, but it's not that easy to do."

Asked whether Weeks viewed batting low in the order as a personal affront, Roenicke said, "The discussions I have with him, a lot of those are between us. This is what we came up with."