Versatility Could Be Brewers 19th-Rounder's Ticket





MILWAUKEE—Zelous Wheeler still considers himself a third baseman by trade, but he understands that a "jack of all trades" status can't hurt.

"The more positions you can play, the better off it can be," he said.

On the 40-man roster for the first time, the 25-year-old Wheeler will report to big league spring training with as many gloves as it takes to make an impression.

He focused on playing second and third base last season in the high minors—mostly for Double-A Huntsville—and in the Arizona Fall League.

After a sluggish start with Peoria, Wheeler put together a strong finish in his first AFL experience. He went 11-for-35 (.314) with five walks in his final 10 games.

"I was playing more at the end (of the AFL season), and that helped," he said. "It's still baseball. It's just competing."

Wheeler has come a long way since 2007, when the Brewers drafted him in the 19th round out of Wallace State (Ala.) CC. He batted .272/.378/.459 with nine homers in 279 at-bats last season for Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville.

With an effervescent personality and aggressive nature, Wheeler is considered a sparkplug in the organization. But he realizes it is production—and perhaps versatility—that will give him a chance to play in the majors.

Heck, Wheeler even caught some bullpen sessions in the AFL.

"I'll do whatever it takes," he said. "I hope it will help. We'll see what happens. I'm going to just keep working to get better.

"It's nice to be on the 40-man roster. I'm looking forward to showing them what I can do."

MICROBREWS

• The Brewers signed veteran center fielder Corey Patterson to a minor league deal. The 32-year-old finished last season with the Cardinals, though he didn't make the playoff roster.

• Righthander Brandon Kintzler missed much of last season with a stress fracture in his forearm that eventually required surgery, but he was expected to be healthy for spring training.