PHOENIX -- Given his speed, it makes sense that Carlos Gomez would be best when he hits the ball on the ground. Brewers manager Ken Macha wanted to show his fleet-footed center fielder the statistical evidence.
Brewers researcher Karl Mueller provided the raw data. Throughout his career on balls put in play, Gomez is a .195 hitter on fly balls (261 put in play), a .631 hitter on line drives (123), a .268 hitter on ground balls (306) and a .446 hitter on bunts (102 put in play, 10 of which were sacrifices). Gomez's high average on line drives is not surprising; the Major League average is typically about .700.
But the point stands: Gomez would be well-served by keeping the ball out of the air. The key, Macha said, is keeping his lead elbow low, and thus keeping the bat head from dropping down. Gomez, who had Wednesday off but will be back in action in Thursday's split-squad game against the A's, has been working on it with hitting coach Dale Sveum.
"Yesterday's batting practice, I thought he swung the bat as well as he has this spring," Macha said. "We want him to get it on the ground, but I don't want him to be conscious about it. A lot of the balls he hit in batting practice were hard and low."
It's a work in progress. Meanwhile, Macha has been mulling where Gomez fits best in the starting lineup, and said Wednesday that he has liked what he's seen from the two-hole. Gomez could also drop lower in the order to hit seventh, eighth or perhaps ninth if the Brewers bat their pitcher in the eight-hole.
Those decisions will not be made until the camp roster is pared down, Macha said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.