MILWAUKEE -- Had Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks been a bad hitter for the majority of his career, manager Ron Roenicke said it might have been easy to give up on the former first-round Draft pick when he struggled through much of the first half of this season.
For the last two-plus weeks, though, the second-year skipper has been glad that wasn't the case.
Entering Wednesday, Weeks was batting .306 with eight RBIs and seven extra-base hits in his last 16 games. That stretch includes five multi-hit games after registering just five such efforts in his first 60 appearances of the season.
In Tuesday's 13-12 win over the Marlins, Weeks went 3-for-5 and put a swing on a double down the left-field line that Roenicke said was reminiscent of the player he saw last year.
"We've definitely stuck with him, no question," Roenicke said. "But for good reasons. The most important one is, Rickie's always been a good hitter. At his age, why would we expect him not to hit?"
One potential reason is the severe left ankle sprain Weeks suffered last season. Not only did that alter his swing when he came back, Roenicke said, but it also bothered Weeks through Spring Training and up until recently. Weeks, who has his left ankle taped for every game, told Roenicke it's been feeling batter the last month, which happens to have been his best month of the season.
Neither player nor manager has allowed the ankle to be an excuse. However, Weeks did say on Wednesday that he's feeling the best he has all year, and his slump, which hit a low on May 27 with a .152 batting average, is likely a thing of the past.
"It's been behind me," said Weeks, who bumped his average up to .194 entering Wednesday. "I have a very short-term memory. I'm just coming to the ballpark every day. I'm not going to say I'm back, but I'm putting in the work."
That's good news for Roenicke, who said he's glad to see his six-hole hitter performing the way everyone expects him to perform.
"He's big to our offense," Roenicke said. "When he's doing what he was doing last night and what he's been doing for a while now, it makes a lot of difference."