Brewers' Hall unhappy with platoon at 3B
MILWAUKEE -- Bill Hall has patiently gone along with the Milwaukee Brewers' ever-changing plans for him in the field, switching from utility player to center fielder to third baseman over the past three seasons.
Now he wishes his team would be more patient with his struggles at the plate against right-handed pitching. And he's not sure why he's being singled out for reduced playing time when some of his teammates are struggling, too.
"Obviously, they're not happy with me hitting off righties. I'm not happy with me hitting off righties," Hall said before the Brewers rallied to beat the Braves 3-2 on Tuesday. "[But] I'm not the only one that's struggling with right-handed pitching -- or pitching in general.
Hall was hitting .220 with nine home runs and 22 RBIs going into Tuesday night's game against Atlanta, .409 against lefties and .158 against righties.
"Going on the last four years, nothing makes any sense," Hall told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Despite his frustrations, Hall was the hero on Tuesday. He came in as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth with the scored tied at 2. He singled in the bottom half, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, stole third base and scored the game-winner on a Mike Cameron sac fly.
In response to Hall's recent struggles Milwaukee brought veteran Russell Branyan up from Triple-A Nashville over the weekend. Branyan, a left-handed batter who was hitting .359 in Nashville, has replaced Hall in two games and was in the lineup against Braves right-hander Tim Hudson Tuesday.
Branyan went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Brewers manager Ned Yost said he expected Hall to be upset with the move.
"If Bill Hall was happy about it, I wouldn't want him on this team," Yost said.
Hall was a .264 career hitter coming into 2008, averaging .262 against right-handers. Given his track record, Hall felt the decision to platoon him with Branyan was made too quickly.
"It was kind of quick to make such a quick decision two months into the season," Hall said. "I've still got 400 at-bats to go. So it is what it is, and we'll see what happens."
Yost said the situation with Hall and Branyan won't be a strict platoon, meaning Hall might be in the lineup against a right-hander he has hit well against in the past. And Yost eventually expects Hall to bounce back.
"I feel that Bill will fight his way through this, and get back to where he needs to be -- and where we need him to be," Yost said.
But how can Hall straighten himself out against right-handers if he isn't facing them consistently?
"You tell me. I don't know," Hall said. "I guess tomorrow I'm starting against a left-hander [Jo-Jo Reyes] -- so if a right-hander comes in the game, I guess I'd better get a hit."
Hall said he has felt pressure to improve his performance against right-handers over the past two weeks, making the situation tougher.
"It's tough to go up there and hit when you feel like if you don't get a hit, you're probably not going to play against the [next] righty starter," Hall said. "But that's just the way the game is. It's a business, and the quicker you understand it, the quicker I guess you get over it."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.