Sunday, March 04, 2007

Geoff Jenkins Picks Up Where Left He Off In Sept.

Brewers slugger Geoff Jenkins appears to be on a mission, picking up where he left off late last year with a torrid pace for the early spring, hitting .625. After being benched last August, Jenkins reached back to hit at a .486 clip with five homers through the first three weeks of September, thus being restored to the lineup.

Though Jenkins throws right-handed, he bats left and must prove he can hit southpaws if he is to keep his status as an everyday player. But the problem seems to be that doubters persist, as the Brewers have been unable to trade the 33-year-old, $7 million-a-year veteran to make room for more youthful competitors, including Corey Hart, 25, who has been given the right field job, and Billy Hall, 27, who has moved from shortstop to center field.

That leaves Jenkins to be platooned with Kevin Mench, 29, in left, while Gabe Gross, 27, Laynce Nix, 26, and Tony Gwynn Jr., 24, scramble for the crumbs. All in all, it's an unhappy camp for most of the outfielders, with Jenkins, Mench and veteran Brady Clark, 33, openly grumbling about being limited to part-time play. No one is likely more frustrated that Gwynn, who is ticketed for the minors though he considers himself to be major-league ready,

Unless a trade can be consumated, look for manager Ned Yost to spread at-bats among all the rivals, as each cuts into one another's playing time and limits individual stat totals. Clark may have the most marketability on the trading block, as he is not saddled with an excessively costly contract as is Jenkins.