Betancourt to shift to first to stay in lineup

Betancourt to shift to first to stay in lineup

MILWAUKEE -- Yuniesky Betancourt will shift to everyday first base duty when Aramis Ramirez returns from the disabled list, manager Ron Roenicke said Wednesday.

Ramirez is due back Friday, and Betancourt is getting the nod to remain in the starting lineup over fellow veteran Alex Gonzalez, who was Milwaukee's Opening Day first baseman but has not been as productive at the plate. Gonzalez hit .175 in April with a home run and five RBIs, compared to Betancourt's .280 average, six home runs and 21 RBIs in the month. Betancourt tied Ryan Braun for the team lead in RBIs and finished one shy of Braun in homers.

On Wednesday, Betancourt homered for the third straight day, going back-to-back with Carlos Gomez for his seventh homer and 22nd RBI.

"I think the production he's had so far and what he's done, he certainly deserves most of the playing time," Roenicke said of Betancourt.

Gonzalez will return to a utility role, and probably play some third base as the Brewers work Ramirez back into everyday play.

Betancourt came to the Brewers late in Spring Training expecting to play off the bench, but was thrust into everyday duty when Ramirez sprained his left knee on April 5.

"I didn't have expectations. I just worked hard," Betancourt said. "When I signed, I didn't know I would play a lot. I'm happy that I helped the team win."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.