Extra work pays dividends for Brewers’ Weeks

MILWAUKEE — Rickie Weeks was frustrated, so he picked up the phone and called Brewers hitting coach Johnny Narron.

He doesn’t usually like to get early work in unless it’s after a day off, but Weeks met Narron at the park at 12:30 and went to work in the cage and then on the field during batting practice.

It’s hard to know if his diligent efforts paid off Tuesday night, but the results were finally there for Milwaukee’s second baseman. Weeks went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, home run and five RBI in Milwaukee’s 12-8 victory over the Pirates.

For someone that entered Tuesday hitting .167 with just one home run and four RBI, Weeks’ big night was a welcome sign he could be ready to end his early season slump.

“I just wanted to do some extra stuff,” Weeks said. “I just wanted to kill myself in the cage, basically. I had no legs by the end of the game, I just wanted to go in there and do some extra work.”

Weeks didn’t tinker with his swing or try to change anything. He just wanted to see as many pitches as possible and let out some of his frustrations.

“I didn’t try anything different, I was just frustrated,” Weeks said. “I just wanted to go out there and get some work in and I ordered myself out there, plain and simple. Basically just punish myself, really. I guess it worked.”

The home run came in the eighth inning off Pirates left-hander Tony Watson. With the Brewers up just 9-8 at the time, Weeks hit a 1-2 pitch 393 feet to right-center field to give Milwaukee three big insurance runs.

Weeks anticipated that Watson was showing him inside only to come back with a pitch away.

“It was out over the plate,” Weeks said. “His scouting report was 90 percent fastballs and the first pitch I saw, he threw me a changeup and I almost broke my bat. I just wanted to see something out and over.”

The Brewers have found a way to finish the month of April at 14-11 despite starting the season 2-8 and having Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart out of the lineup along with Weeks going through his struggles.

It was just one game, but the Brewers would really benefit if Weeks can get on track sooner rather than later.

“This would be big,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “I think he’s had some better at-bats lately. I think he’s been swinging the bat a little better. Today, everything worked. When he’s driving the ball out to the opposite field like that, that’s really good.”

Seeing the ball hasn’t been the issue for Weeks, but his timing has been all out of whack. Eventually that has to click and Tuesday might have been the night.

“It’s just when your timing is off, things speed up and you can get overanxious,” Weeks said. “The biggest thing for me is to go out there and play my game.

“I was frustrated, obviously. You don’t want to be in this position. It wasn’t to the point where I was going to go out there and do something drastic. You have to stay within yourself, it’s real early. Just stay even keel and do your job.”

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