NEW YORK -- Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio made official on Friday what was already widely expected: The club will exercise right fielder Norichika Aoki's $1.5 million option for 2014.
It is an easy call, considering the modest price for a player who is hitting .288 with a .356 on-base percentage in his first 304 games in the Major Leagues. He hit a leadoff home run -- the second of his career -- against Mets starter Carlos Torres in Friday's 4-2 win and also singled.
"Yeah, we will definitely pick up Nori's contract," Attanasio said about an hour before the Aoki's home run. "Nori has been an outstanding teammate, outstanding member of the community. He's always willing to help out, doing things in the community. And one of the toughest outs in the Major Leagues. That's a matter of fact. He's very tough to get out.
"Our general manager likes to say that things will be decided at the end of the season, but I think Nori could go 0-for-the-end-of-the-season at this point and still get his contract."
Aoki emerged as the everyday right fielder in 2012 after injuries necessitated Corey Hart's move to first base. He is part of a deep stable of Brewers outfielders that includes left fielder Ryan Braun and center fielder Carlos Gomez, plus up-and-comers Logan Schafer, Khris Davis and Caleb Gindl.
Aoki's name appeared sparingly in trade rumors earlier this year, and figures to appear again in 2014 because he is a free agent after the season.