PHOENIX -- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is brainstorming with his manager on ways to beat his annual early-season slump.
"I would have like five MVPs in my house right now if I ever got off to a good start," Ramirez said, probably only half-joking.
Indeed, Ramirez's worst monthly batting average (.257) and on-base percentage (.328) are in April and his worst slugging percentage (.450) is in May. Compare that to August, when Ramirez has hit .305/.367/.547.
He thought that signing a free-agent contract with the Brewers last offseason would help, since he'd be playing half of his early-season games at climate-controlled Miller Park instead of chilly Wrigley Field. But Ramirez instead followed the same pattern, hitting .214 with two home runs in April last season before rallying to hit .300 with 27 home runs, 105 RBIs and an NL-best 50 doubles.
"I talked to [manager Ron Roenicke] yesterday, and talked to him a couple of times in the offseason, and we want to try to do something different this spring to see if it works out," Ramirez said. "I don't know what it's going to be yet. I don't know if it's going to be play more games, play less games. Take more [batting practice] down here? I don't know. Just do something different and see if I can get off to a great start."
Right now, Ramirez and Roenicke are each brainstorming ideas. They'll talk again before games begin to set a plan.
Roenicke said the early start of Cactus League games, a product of the World Baseball Classic, could benefit Ramirez if he opts to play more this spring. He also noted that Ramirez reported to camp a bit lighter this year.
"He's tired of not starting off well and he wants to try to do something about it," Roenicke said.