PHOENIX (AP) — Rickie Weeks had been at his locker for just a few seconds for the first time this spring when his Milwaukee Brewers teammates started to greet him with handshakes and pats on the back.
He had returned, finally, after a left hamstring injury ended his 2013 season in August, though he is no longer the guaranteed starter at second base. Scooter Gennett seized the opportunity at second and hit .324 down the stretch of his rookie season after Weeks went down.
"We'll let it play out and, you know, the scenarios that we have, I think they're pretty good, and so we're not sure exactly how it's going to go," manager Ron Roenicke said Wednesday. "You know Rick needs to be bounce back and be the same Rickie."
That would be the career .247 hitter who's usually a lock for 20 home runs, along with a solid veteran clubhouse presence.
"He's got your back. He plays the game the right way," the 23-year-old Gennett said. "Not only is he a good player, he's a good guy, and he made things very comfortable for me. I'm thankful for that."
Gennett's locker is just around a corner from the one belonging to Weeks in a section dominated by the top position players. They embraced and said "hellos" after Gennett spotted Weeks across the clubhouse.
Soon enough, they'll be tangled in what Gennett considered an open competition for the second base job.
"Absolutely. I've got a job to do and whatever they tell me to do, I'm going to do it. It's healthy, it's always a good thing," said Gennett, who finished with six homers and 21 RBIs in 213 at-bats but just 10 walks.
The 31-year-old Weeks said he is a full go now after an extensive rehab process following the surgery last season.