Parra may not have everyday job in Brewers' crowded OF
Mar. 02, 2015
PHOENIX (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers have a numbers problem in the outfield that many other teams might envy.
There are four players worthy of three starting spots, including Gold Glove winners in Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra; 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun and promising young slugger Khris Davis.
It looks as if the versatile Parra will begin the season without an everyday job despite boasting the most impressive defensive credentials. He won two Gold Gloves in five full seasons with Arizona before being traded last year to the Brewers.
Manager Ron Roenicke doesn't necessarily view Parra as a fourth outfielder.
"For me, Parra is a starter so I consider him a guy that, if the matchups are good for him, he's going to be in the game," Roenicke said Monday. "I'm not waiting for somebody to be tired and has to have a day off, it's going to be different with him."
Parra is the only left-handed hitter among the top four outfielders in Milwaukee. Still, finding regular playing time might be difficult.
Gomez played 148 games for Milwaukee last season. Braun, who has had problems with his right hand the last two years, is feeling much better and expects to play significantly more than the 135 games he did a year ago.
Most of Parra's playing time last season came in place of Davis, who goes into his second full big league season. The Brewers love his power bat — Davis has hit 33 home runs since being called up in July 2013 — but his arm is a bit of a liability.
Parra was an everyday player through his first five seasons. He played all three outfield positions before being traded to Milwaukee at the trade deadline last season.
Going from a starting role to a bench player was a bit of an adjustment, but Parra said he adapted quickly and has had no complaints.
"Every day I felt better," Parra said. "Maybe the first month or two months it felt a little bit different, but after that I feel good. That's a good thing. I'm happy to come here."
A willingness to accept what some would consider a lesser role has earned the appreciation of teammates and Roenicke.
"He's really got a great attitude but he wants to be out there," Roenicke said. "In my mind, if I had got him 200 at-bats this year, he'd be disappointed. He's a better player than that and we need to get him out there."
The 27-year-old will earn $6.2 million this year, his last under team control, and will become a free agent after the season. He's not worried about hitting the market in hopes of finding a regular job just yet.
"If I don't play every day I won't feel bad," he said. "If I don't play every day I will be happy, too. My job is to play baseball in a Milwaukee uniform to do the best I can."
NOTES: Right-hander Taylor Williams has made quite an impression early in camp. The non-roster invitee went 8-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 22 outings at Class-A Wisconsin last season. "If you want to just talk about stuff, that's as good as it gets," Roenicke said. "It's an explosive fastball, two hard breaking balls with a slider and curveball, and a changeup. He's got a nice package going." ... Heavy rain in the Phoenix area on Monday forced the cancellation of most of the team's workouts. Roenicke said the change wouldn't cause too much of a problem.