MILWAUKEE -- In four games since being called up on Saturday, reliever Juan Perez has produced very mixed results.
Perez made his first appearance right away, in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Twins at Miller Park. He entered the game in the top of the seventh with runners on first and second and one out in a 2-2 tie. He walked the bases loaded before hitting Ben Revere to allow a run.
"He's up taking a flight at five in the morning to get here," manager Ron Roenicke said. "And of course it ends up being [that] with the game on the line, we've got to bring him in."
The next day, Perez lasted just two-thirds of an inning, striking out a batter but also walking one and surrendering a run. In a 5-4 loss to the Giants on Monday, he pitched a full inning and once again struggled with his control, walking two batters but also striking out two.
Perez turned in his best performance in Tuesday's 6-4 loss to San Francisco, pitching one scoreless inning and striking out two.
In all, Perez -- who before making eight appearances with the Phillies last season hadn't pitched in the Majors since 2007 -- has a 6.75 ERA with five strikeouts and five walks in 2 2/3 innings.
Despite the up-and-down results, Roenicke thinks the 33-year-old left-hander could be a valuable asset to a bullpen that has been called upon often recently.
"[I had to] put him in a couple of tough situations that I wish I wouldn't have had to," Roenicke said. "But he's made some good pitches, and he's struggled with some."
More playing time means more success for Aoki
MILWAUKEE -- The more that manager Ron Roenicke has tinkered with his batting order, trying to find something that works, the more outfielder Norichika Aoki's name has appeared on the lineup card.A three-time batting champion in Japan's Central League, Aoki has started 10 games in May after starting just three before that this season, his first in the Majors. And as his plate appearances increase, so, too, has his production, as he's recorded five multihit games in six starts since May 13. "He's had some really good at-bats," Roenicke said on Wednesday. "He's up there swinging, but you look at four at-bats, he's seeing a lot of pitches in those four at-bats. He may put the first one in play, the next at-bat he may see 10 pitches." The increased playing time has helped Aoki settle in with Milwaukee, and he said that it's made him more effective than when he was making mostly pinch-hit appearances. "I feel the type of player I am, I can make adjustments during the game," Aoki said. "So the more at-bats I have, if I get out the first at-bat, I can fix my mistake and try to get a hit in the next at-bat." With Roenicke experimenting with Corey Hart at first base, Aoki might see even more starts in right field. He started there for just the third time this season on Wednesday in the series finale against the Giants at Miller Park. Aoki, who has virtually the same average against left and right-handed pitching (.296 and .295), is fine with playing anywhere in the outfield. "As long as [Aoki] continues to do what he's doing, as long as we see that Corey going to first base helps us as an offense, then I would say [Aoki starting more in right field] is going to happen," Roenicke said.
Roenicke meets with GM Melvin
MILWAUKEE -- Before his daily sessions with the media on Wednesday, manager Ron Roenicke met with general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash.
"Just talking about what's going on with the club and trying to figure out how to get this thing going a little better," Roenicke said of the lengthy discussion.
Entering the series finale with the Giants, the Brewers sat seven games out of first place in the National League Central with a 17-26 record. Eight losses in the last 10 games have dropped the club from three games under .500 to nine.
Fortunately for the Crew, they have only lost two games in the standings over that stretch.
Milwaukee has not won consecutive games since taking two of three from Chicago on May 11-12. Two impressive wins -- 8-0 over the Mets and 16-4 over the Twins -- have not provided the type of spark Roenicke and the Brewers had hoped.
And if things don't change soon, the personnel on the field might.
"If there is [a move] right away, it'd be minor. And then we'll see what happens," Roenicke said.
"Doug's always looking. He and Zack [Minasian, director of professional scouting] and his crew are looking for ways to improve what we have. It's not to say that we're giving up on people. But with the injuries, there's a couple of positions where we can improve ourselves."
Those positions would be shortstop, first base and in the rotation, as the Brewers have lost Alex Gonzalez, Mat Gamel and Chris Narveson to season-ending injuries. Shortstop in particular is a position that could use an upgrade -- especially offensively -- with the loss of Gonzalez.
But the current solutions at those spots -- Cesar Izturis and Edwin Maysonet at shortstop, Taylor Green and Travis Ishikawa at first base, and Marco Estrada as the fifth starter -- are not the biggest issue, Roenicke said.
It is the lack of production from such veterans as Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks that has played a larger role in the Brewers' struggles.
"The guys we have are the group that we were counting on this year to do well. It's not these other guys' fault," Roenicke said. "The guys that were injured, they were just going to be a huge plus to that group that we were hoping would do well. And we need to get that group doing well."
Brewers claim Ransom, option Maysonet
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers made multiple roster moves on Wednesday, claiming infielder Cody Ransom off waivers from the D-backs and optioning Edwin Maysonet to Triple-A Nashville.
Milwaukee also sent shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who underwent season-ending surgery on his right ACL last Thursday, to the 60-day disabled list.
Ransom, who batted .269 with 13 RBIs and four home runs in 17 games with the D-backs this season, brings offense and can spell 32-year-old Cesar Izturis at shortstop, manager Ron Roenicke said.
"He is a very good hitter," Roenicke said of the 36-year-old Ransom. "I haven't seen him play shortstop for a while, so I don't know how he is there, but he used to be a very good defender, and we'll see."
Crew missing too many chances to score
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' offensive struggles have increased over the last 10 games, and much of it has to do with their performance with runners in scoring position.
Although they have hit .267 in such situations over that stretch, that number is inflated by the offensive outbursts in two wins over the Mets and Twins. In eight losses over the last 10 games, the Brewers are batting just .188 with runners in scoring position.
In scoring 16 runs on Sunday, the Crew went 7-for-11 with runners in scoring position compared with a 2-for-13 mark in Tuesday night's loss. Despite collecting 11 hits off Giants starter Matt Cain, including seven extra-base hits, the Brewers managed just four runs in a 6-4 defeat.
A leadoff triple in the first and a one-out triple in the second went for naught against Cain, as Norichika Aoki and Jonathan Lucroy were each unable to score.
"We stuck with our approach," center fielder Nyjer Morgan said. "We had Cain on the ropes, and we hit balls right at guys. It's just a part of the game sometimes, and you've got to keep your head up."
Last season, Milwaukee ranked third in the National League, batting .268 with runners in scoring position. The Brewers' OPS of .774 was second best in the NL, behind the Cardinals.
This year the Brewers are in the bottom half of the NL, batting just .240 in such situations.
"Collectively, as a group, we've got to find ways to score when we get runners in scoring position," said Shaun Marcum, who was stranded at second after a one-out double in the third inning on Tuesday night.
"Especially with guys on third with less than two outs. We've got to find ways to get those guys in."
Jordan Schelling is a contributor to MLB.com. Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.