CINCINNATI -- Logan Schafer always wanted to swing a pink bat on Mother's Day in the Minor Leagues, but admits he procrastinated in placing the order. He started in center field for the Brewers on Sunday and finally got his chance.
A pair of pink Louisville Slugger model C271s were resting at his locker.
"It's not every day that you get to go out there and show the world a sign of love for your mother," said Schafer, who had already spoken Sunday morning with his mom, Stacey. "I think it's awesome."
Schafer was among a number of Brewers who swung a pink bat, or wore pink cleats, batting gloves or armbands against the Reds on Sunday.
One of the other pink bats was the Brewers' leadoff man, Norichika Aoki, who had his wife in mind. Sachi is pregnant with the couple's second child, and is due to give birth to a boy in mid-June.
The game's first hit, a second-inning double, was produced by Yuniesky Betancourt's pink bat.
Regular center fielder Carlos Gomez, who had the day off, marked the first of two Mother's Days. He said they celebrate the holiday on the last Sunday of May in the Dominican Republic. He spoke via telephone with his mother, Belgika.
"My son is an American, and I feel really good [celebrating Mother's Day here in the U.S.]," Gomez said. "It's a special day."
Gomez's rest routine, unrelated to back issues
CINCINNATI -- Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez has been getting treatment since Spring Training for a balky back, but characterized Sunday, when he was not in the starting lineup against the Reds, as merely a routine day off.
He sat on a National League-best .374 batting average.
"It's normal," he said. "Everybody is beat up."
Of greater concern to Gomez were his two strikeouts during a 2-for-5 performance on Saturday. He corkscrewed into the ground swinging and missing a high-and-tight pitch from Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek in the seventh inning, and did the same against J.J. Hoover in the ninth to end the game.
Gomez has been seeing a lot of those pitches in recent days.
"He's doing his job," Gomez said of the pitchers, "but it's starting to [tick] me off. Throwing the ball at my neck. There are other ways to throw pitches to move you; they can throw you in low. They don't necessarily have to be in the face. That's why I'm [ticked] off.
"I mean, it's their job. If I'm pitching, I'd do it to. But I'm tired of this. ... When it's high, this is scary. When I swing at that, I'm trying to protect myself. It's the game. We can't change it. It's what it is, and you have to take it like a man. I don't like it, but if they continue to do it, I have to figure out something to get out of there."
Hart making slow progress in rehab
CINCINNATI -- Corey Hart marked another milestone last week in his comeback from right knee surgery, but things are moving more slowly than he expected, and he could not say whether he'd be ready to return when his stint on the disabled list expires May 30.
"It really depends. If I have one really good week, then I can go play [for a Minor League affiliate]," Hart said before the Brewers departed Miller Park for their current road trip. "Or, it could take until the middle of June. I don't know until I can do quick movements without it hurting, and we're not there yet."
When the Brewers traveled to Cincinnati to begin a three-city trip, Hart remained in Milwaukee to continue his rehabilitation.
His most recent milestone was marked Wednesday, when Hart bore his full weight for the first time while running on a treadmill. He had previously been getting help from the team's AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, one of the toys of the Brewers' athletic training staff.
He has been hitting in the batting cage for at least 10 days, taking soft toss from coaches and seeing 90-mph fastballs from a pitching machine.
"I haven't hit on the field, but I could," Hart said. "Every day is a little different, and you just have to hope that when I have busy days, I don't come in with swelling. Now, it's just getting my leg ready to run. That's really all that I'm missing.
"I haven't had any setbacks since we started, and hopefully my leg keeps progressing. I'm getting to the point where I have to start doing more, and right now, the strength still isn't where I want it to be."
Brewers must decide about K-Rod, now in Triple-A
CINCINNATI -- Right on schedule, the Brewers promoted reliever Francisco Rodriguez to Triple-A Nashville on Saturday night and will decide this week whether to offer him a job in the Majors or a ticket back to free agency.
Under the terms of K-Rod's Minor League contract, the Brewers had 30 days to evaluate his stuff and decide whether he fit their bullpen plans. Rodriguez made two appearances for Class A Brevard County, then threw a simulated inning on a covered mound Saturday when their game was rained out.
Rodriguez is scheduled to pitch back-to-back Triple-A games on Monday and Tuesday with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin in attendance. The team's decision-making window closes Thursday, according to assistant general manager Gord Ash, who declined to say how the club was leaning.
"I don't think you can draw any conclusions to this point because it's been 'A' ball," Ash said.
To make room for Rodriguez in Nashville, the Sounds placed first-base prospect Hunter Morris on the seven-day disabled list with what Ash characterized as a mild concussion suffered in a collision on the basepaths.
"Just to be cautious," Ash said.
Morris will go through the standard array of impact testing to ensure he is healthy before he plays again.
Roenicke: Weeks' issue is confidence, not mechanics
CINCINNATI -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke would have liked to sit second baseman Rickie Weeks on Sunday, but without divulging many details, said he could not. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez had a scheduled day off, part of his comeback from a left knee injury. But another infielder, Alex Gonzalez, was on the bench and healthy.
All Roenicke would say was: "It's just figuring out things here, not just for today, but what's going on the next few days."
Sunday would have made sense for a break, since Weeks entered the day 8-for-47 against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo and 4-for-29 in May. He did own a respectable .306 on-base percentage for the month, but scored one run in nine games, with no RBIs.
He was also grounding out about 10 percent more often than his career average, though Roenicke continued to argue that the issue was not mechanical.
"I don't think, mechanically, he's fouled up," Roenicke said. "I just think he's not seeing the ball, he's not confident.... There's not a lack of bat speed. It's not something physical. If you watch his batting practice, it's ridiculous, and it hasn't changed.
"Unfortunately, with his confidence -- it's proven that you see the ball better when you're confident. If you're relaxed, your vision is a lot better. If you're pressed, whatever it is, your vision is not as good. That's a proven fact. How do you fix that?"
So far, Roenicke's answer has been to continue playing Weeks every day. Benching him a day or two would not hurt Weeks' confidence, Roenicke argues, but it would not help his hitting, either.
Might that strategy change? Might there be some off-days in Weeks' near future?
"There may be," Roenicke said. "It does get to a point where you feel like you need to do something different."