MILWAUKEE -- For someone who was wrapping up nearly a whole week of sitting on the bench, Clint Barmes was a pretty happy man as he paced Miller Park's service level alone late Friday afternoon. Well, alone if you didn't count the bat he'd just put through its paces in the batting cage and had rested on his shoulder. "I'm feeling good and happy with where everything is," Barmes said on his way back to the Pirates' clubhouse "And encouraged by where it can get me. I'm doing the same things I've done in the past, when they worked."
Barmes and his .170 average remained on the bench in the opener of the series with the Brewers. Jordy Mercer again started at short, although Josh Harrison was also back in the lineup, stationed in right field against Milwaukee lefty Randy Wolf. Barmes' back-to-basics class, being thought of by Clint Hurdle, is focused on "reconnecting his swing with what he needs to do to square the ball up," the manager said. To Barmes himself, it's all about committing the outside-the-lines work to muscle memory, "where I don't have to think in the game about what I'm doing, can just keep that consistent bat path. I've gotten away from it. It just happens, for whatever reason." "I've fallen into bad habits before," Barmes added, "where you get away from your normal way of things, but it gets compounded when you're with a new team and you look up at the scoreboard and see that average."