Outfield depth one of Brewers' strong points
MAR 11, 2013 8:52a ET
Caleb Gindl has been through this before.
In each of the past few spring trainings, he'd come up, hit the ball well and be sent back to the minor leagues sometime before Opening Day. While the same thing could happen again this season, Gindl at least sees a sliver of opportunity to make the team.
"It's the first time there's a spot kind of open," Gindl said. "You feel like you have a chance. If you go out and you play well everyday and give it everything you got, you have a chance to make the team."
While there might be a roster spot open, the Brewers have to decide if they want to keep a true fifth outfielder or more a utility player that could play the outfield if need be. Because Logan Schafer has done nothing to lose the stranglehold he has as the fourth outfielder, Gindl or even Khris Davis' chances of making the roster relies with this decision.
Because Alex Gonzalez is likely going to spend quite a bit of time filling in for Corey Hart at first base, the Brewers keeping more a utility-type player for the final roster spot would make sense. The club has already asked infielders Jeff Bianchi and Donnie Murphy to give the outfield a try in spring training to see if either could be an option to play the outfield if needed.
The 24-year-old Gindl is hitting .364 in 11 games this spring and can play all three outfield positions. In the past two seasons with Triple-A Nashville, Gindl has hit a combined .285 with 27 home runs and 110 RBI.
"I'm more of a doubles guy than a home run guy," Gindl said. "I will hit some home runs, but I'm more of a doubles hitter. Just play defense solid, all-around just try to get the job done."
Because he's been involved and stood out in a few spring camps, many lose sight that Gindl is still young. If he doesn't make the team out of the gates, his window of time with the Brewers certainly isn't closed. He was pushed quickly through the minor leagues and has been young at every level of the minor leagues.
"He's a nice player," Roenicke said. "He's still really young. People don't look at it that way, but he's young. They moved him to Triple-A in a hurry, and he played well. This is a young guy that performed really well there and then he went through a year where he struggled."
Davis, 25, has been the talk of spring training, but is more of a long shot to make the team. He's not an option at first base because he couldn't pick up on the position during the Arizona Fall League. Not strong defensively or with his throwing arm, Davis really only projects as a left fielder.
With Ryan Braun firmly entrenched in leftfield, Davis doesn't provide enough versatility as a backup outfielder, even though he is hitting .308 with three home runs in 12 spring games.
"What I've seen from him so far is he's been good," Roenicke said. "He has decent range, runs OK and I'm confident he's going to catch the ball. I know his throwing arm is the one thing we've been working on. That's going to prevent him from playing the other positions."
Just 6-foot and 195 pounds, Davis has shown tremendous power in spring training, launching three mammoth home runs in Cactus League games and another in an exhibition game against Canada. He's certainly left an impression within the organization even if he's still a long shot to head north to Milwaukee.
"It's completely different," Davis said of being in big league camp. "I'm in a room full of beasts, and you have to bring out the beast in you when you are out there playing. They call it beast mode.
"I've worked on my defense, but every part of my game. I'm always trying to learn something new and what I can bring to the table."
Interviews for this story provided by the Milwaukee Brewers.
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