It’s a period of change for Rickie Weeks Jr., both in baseball and in life.
In life, Weeks this offseason had his first child and added the suffix of Jr. to his name.
In baseball, the long-time starting second baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers entered spring training on a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. As the focus remained on youthful outfielders like Peter O’Brien and Socrates Brito, maybe it was surprising to fans that the 33-year-old Weeks, after a lone season in Seattle a year ago, earned a major league contract to make the D-backs’ 25-man roster.
Weeks will now come off the bench and add depth to the team’s outfield, and no matter the position and role changes that still might seem foreign to the MLB veteran, his approach is what’s important.
“The biggest thing for me and everyone else on the team is preparation. I have been on both sides of the ball, the pinch-hit role to the starting role,” Weeks told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I’m a baseball player. Whatever role that is, I’m coming here to play baseball.”
Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Off the Edge show with Bertrand Berry that Weeks’ “veteran leadership was a factor in making this club,” and it makes sense with the D-backs’ outfield relying so heavily on inexperienced bodies.
Second-year pro Yasmany Tomas, the 23-year-old Brito and infielder Chris Owings, who on Opening Day against the Rockies will start just his first regular season game in the outfield, are all expected to play significant roles with center fielder A.J. Pollock injured and last year’s starter, Ender Inciarte, traded in the offseason.
Weeks, who last year moved into the outfield, played well in the spring by batting .432 in 44 at-bats, including seven doubles and eight RBI.
But after slashing .167/.263/.250 in just 37 games with the Mariners last season, Weeks admitted he didn’t know what to expect by the time Arizona whittled down its roster.
“I’m the type of person, I expect a lot about myself. I’m not going to say I told myself I’m going to make this team,” he said.
- Diamondbacks add left-hander Jared Miller to 40-man roster
- D-backs, MLB teams release New Era 2018 spring training hats
- The 5: Most thrilling debut seasons in Valley sports history
- D-backs’ Goldschmidt finishes third in NL MVP voting, Marlins’ Stanton wins
- J.D. Martinez’s agent keeps making hilarious metaphors