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No lefties, no problem

The Sports Xchange

Generally, playoff teams have a left-hander in the bullpen, if not two. The Brewers, who certainly appear headed for October baseball, could buck that trend.

The Brewers have been playing for weeks without a lefty in the bullpen, and manager Ron Roenicke insists that's just fine with him. The bullpen configuration changed greatly at the all-star break when the Brewers traded for Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Roenicke has been using Rodriguez in the eighth inning and closer John Axford in the ninth inning, which eliminates the need for a lefty in either of those innings. Rodriguez and Axford are effective against left-handed hitters, as are most established closers.

Late-inning reliever LaTroy Hawkins, a right-hander, also is effective against lefties (.206 batting average).

"I don't know what it is because I don't think in the past his splits have been as dramatic," Roenicke said of Hawkins. "He's having a great year.

"The necessity to have (a lefty reliever) isn't there now. If we didn't have K-Rod, things would be different. If we didn't have him, I'd say I'd like to have a lefty in the bullpen."

Earlier in the year, the Brewers figured to have left-handers Manny Parra and Zach Braddock in their bullpen at this point. But Parra was lost for the season when a back issue morphed into an ailing elbow that still bothers him.

Braddock pitched for the Brewers during the first half but was optioned to Class AAA Nashville on July 15 and placed on the inactive list to allow time to work out some personal issues. He hasn't pitched since.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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