PHOENIX -- Hunter Morris insisted Tuesday morning that he wasn't sweating his hitless start to Spring Training. An 0-for-4, three-strikeout afternoon against the Mariners left him 0-for-13 with five strikeouts so far.
"I've always kind of started slow and it takes me some time to get my timing, and then one day it clicks, and it's there for good," said Morris, a first baseman and MLB.com's fifth-best Brewers prospect. "Heck, last year I started the regular season 0-for-14, and that turned out pretty good."
He went on to bat .303 with 28 home runs and 113 RBIs in 136 games, winning the Southern League Most Valuable Player Award and Brewers Minor League Player of the Year honors. Morris was rewarded with his first invitation to big league Spring Training camp and actually has a shot at the Opening Day roster in light of knee injuries suffered by first basemen Corey Hart and Mat Gamel.
Morris played all nine innings on Monday and was back in the starting lineup on Tuesday against the Mariners, serving as the designated hitter. Another of the candidates to fill in while Hart rehabs from surgery, Alex Gonzalez, started at first base.
Morris popped out to the catcher to end the second inning and struck out in the fourth, the sixth and the ninth.
"Some guys just start early in Spring Training, they're locked in. Others need a lot of at-bats," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Hopefully we'll get him a couple of hits and get him going. He'll get a day off [here and there], but we want to see him get a lot of at-bats."
Morris called that opportunity "all you can ask for."
"It is always a struggle the first few days, first few at-bats, but I actually feel like I'm seeing the ball well," he said. "The couple of strikeouts [before Tuesday], I've chased fastballs up in the zone, and maybe that's just being a little over-aggressive late in the count. For the most part, I don't feel like I'm missing balls by eight feet. I've had a couple of long at-bats -- 10 pitches. I feel like I'm close."