MILWAUKEE -- Former first-round Draft pick Clint Coulter was named player of the week in the Class A Midwest League on Monday after a two-game stretch in which he hit three home runs and drove in eight.
Coulter remains raw behind the plate, but the Brewers are still committed to him at that position.
"He has a lot of the tools you need to be successful there," pro scouting director Zach Minasian said of Coulter, rated the Brewers' No. 12 prospect by MLB.com. "He throws really well. He works really hard. I think it's still a long process for him, but my philosophy on it is if you have a guy with physical ability who wants to catch, you might as well let him. At that position particularly, if you don't have someone who enjoys doing it, you're not going to get out of him what you need to get out of him. I think he still wants to do it."
Ever since he was drafted 27th overall in 2012, Coulter has faced speculation he would eventually be moved to first base or one of the outfield corners. If he makes it to the Major Leagues, it will be his bat that gets him there; so far he is a .268 hitter with 16 home runs and 81 RBIs in 128 Minor League games.
Coulter celebrated his weekly award with a day off; the Timber Rattlers were snowed out.
After getting paycheck, Wang makes debut
MILWAUKEE -- Left-hander Wei-Chung Wang received his first Major League paycheck on Monday afternoon, and then the Brewers made him earn it.
It was a day of firsts for Wang, a 21-year-old Rule 5 Draft pick who is rated the Brewers' No. 11 prospect by MLB.com. He saw snow for the first time thanks to a rare April dusting in Wisconsin, then he received his pay in front of teammates, who were so delighted they gave Wang an ovation while he held the envelope in the air.
Hours later, with the Brewers trailing the Cardinals by four runs in the ninth inning, he made his long-awaited big league debut. Wang surrendered a two-out single to Pete Kozma, but he retired the other three hitters he faced on flyouts.
"I tried to pretend I'm not nervous," Wang said through his translator, Jay Hsu.
Was he nervous?
"I was nervous inside," Wang said. "First time, [one is] always nervous."
Manager Ron Roenicke had been seeking a low-pressure situation for Wang's Major League debut, but he could not find one before Monday because the Brewers had been playing -- and winning -- so many close games. The best opportunity came after the Brewers built a 10-4 lead last week in Philadelphia, but the ninth inning of that win went to right-hander Jim Henderson. Roenicke had prioritized getting Henderson on track after a slow start.
While waiting to pitch, Wang shadowed Tyler Thornburg, who began the season as the Brewers' long man, as well as fellow left-handers Zach Duke and Will Smith.
On Monday, he finally joined them on the stat sheet. Wang became the 11th Taiwanese player to appear in the Major Leagues, including eight pitchers. He is the first Taiwan-born player in Brewers history.
"That's pretty impressive at his age, to go that long without pitching and come in and do the same thing he was doing for us in Spring Training," Roenicke said. "That's pretty good."
Back home in Taiwan, Wang's family and friends were eagerly awaiting his debut. Taipei is 13 hours ahead of Milwaukee.
"They are texting me, 'When will you pitch?'" Wang said. "I say, 'You guys can go to sleep.' I'm afraid they stay up so late; it's bad for their health."
Monday's snowfall was a surprise. Wang told reporters that when he walked outside to catch his ride to the ballpark on Monday, a few flakes fell on his iPad. He looked up and said he wondered, "Is this snow? Wow!"
"I have seen it on TV," Wang said. "I'm wishing it was heavier. I know everybody doesn't like it, but I just want to see it."
Davis among Crew's absences vs. righty Lynn
MILWAUKEE -- Slugging left fielder Khris Davis was absent from the Brewers lineup Monday for a second straight day, causing a slight stir around Miller Park. Manager Ron Roenicke said it was merely a matter of matchups.
With right-hander Lance Lynn on the mound for the Cardinals, Roenicke stacked his lineup with left-handed bats, meaning a start in left field for Logan Schafer, at first base for Lyle Overbay and at second base for Scooter Gennett.
"It's a toss-up on who we're playing," Roenicke said. "I don't want to sit guys too long, especially Davis. If there's an opportunity to get left-handers in, if there's a matchup, we're going to do that."
Of those three positions, only second base remains a true platoon. Davis is the regular left fielder, and Mark Reynolds the regular first baseman, based in part on their early-season play. But second base remains up for grabs between Gennett, who hit .276/.300/.345 over the Brewers' first four series, and Rickie Weeks, who hit .158/.158/.211.
"I'm fine with platooning until one of them gets so hot that he's going to play almost all the time," Roenicke said. "That's fine with me. We'll go this way for a while and see where we are. Scooter has been swinging the bat pretty good, and Rickie has been better the last couple of games, so hopefully we can get him going.
"I think it can be a nice combination. It can be a really good offensive combination, and then they split the time out there on defense."
With Davis and Schafer in left field, "I'm liking it from both of them," Roenicke said. "It's hard to take Davis out with the way he's swinging the bat, and he's playing good defense. I think it's just really today is the pitcher; I'm trying to match-up [Schafer] with him."
• To "celebrate" Tax Day, Brewers tickets will be available for $4.15 on Tuesday at Brewers.com/taxday. Beginning at 9 a.m. CT, fans can purchase tickets in the Loge Bleachers, Loge Outfield and Terrace Levels for the April 21, 22 and 23 games vs. the Padres with the password TAXDAY (all letters uppercase). There is a limit of eight tickets per game.
• Second baseman Weeks and Brewers Community Foundation executive director Cecelia Gore will present a $50,000 gift to The Center for Resilient Cities on Tuesday to fund the restoration of a tee ball field at Johnsons Park, 1919 W. Fond Du Lac Ave., in Milwaukee.