MILWAUKEE -- Brewers first baseman Lyle Overbay had a fan this week in the D-backs' dugout.
"I'm always rooting for him," said Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt was only two weeks into his Major League career in August 2011, when the D-backs signed Overbay out of free agency. Arizona had just lost Xavier Nady to an injury and was looking for a veteran to pair with then 23-year-old Goldschmidt.
Instead of rivals for playing time, they became friends.
"It makes it a lot better when you have someone you can go to," Goldschmidt said Wednesday, before the teams wrapped up their series at Miller Park. "When you get called up, you're just trying to survive.
"I did pretty well after I first got called up, but the next year, I started off really bad, and he was there to encourage me. It was really nice to have that."
They talked hitting, but Overbay's most important lessons, Goldschmidt said, came on defense. Overbay also became a mentor for off-the-field concerns facing a young player finding his way in the Major Leagues.
Goldschmidt made it through his challenging 2012 season, and after Overbay moved on in 2013, Goldschmidt emerged as one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball. Goldschmidt finished second in the National League Most Valuable Player Award balloting last season.
Overbay gets some of the credit. The two had dinner with a group of players during Spring Training, and they remain in regular contact via text message.
"He was the best teammate you could ever ask for," Goldschmidt said.
Slumping Aramis, Davis not in starting lineup
MILWAUKEE -- Aramis Ramirez typically takes some convincing when his manager wants to give him a day off. Not Wednesday.
"It's a good day," Ramirez said with a shrug.
The steady veteran entered the day stuck in one of the worst slumps of his career, with just three hits in his last 48 at-bats, including a career-worst 0-for-28 funk. After he went 0-for-4 with three soft flyouts to right field and a groundout to the pitcher on Tuesday, manager Ron Roenicke approached Ramirez about taking a day off.
Slumping left fielder Khris Davis also sat out against the D-backs on Wednesday, but Ramirez may be higher on the Brewers' list of concerns. The last week of his hitting funk coincided with No. 3 hitter Ryan Braun's stint on the disabled list with a rib-cage strain.
"[Ramirez] is fighting himself," Roenicke said. "Physically, he actually told me he feels good. So it's just getting him to sit back and watch the game, knowing that he's not the guy out there every time that has to stay and grind.
"I may need him; obviously we can use him today, maybe in a key spot. But he's fighting it, and he's been fighting it for a while. We have to figure out whether the mental side is affecting his swing. He's starting to do some things differently with his swing now. So we'll try to figure out what we need to do."
Last week, Ramirez missed two starts with a bruised left elbow after being hit by a pitch, but that is no longer an issue, the third baseman said.
"I just have to take better swings, better approaches, better pitch selection," Ramirez said.
Davis, meanwhile, was 5-for-33 in his previous eight games. His funk has been equally puzzling.
"He's off and on, too," Roenicke said. "He'll have a really good game and I think he's going to bust out of it, and then he gets back into it again. I think he's a little better overall than he was, say, a week ago."
Davis is trying to maintain his usual calm approach.
"I've been having a good time. Not [stressing] at all," Davis said. "This game is hard ... but I feel like the game reminds me every now and then that it still loves me. I do believe in the baseball gods, I will tell you that."
Braun anticipating Tuesday return from DL
MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun took batting practice on the field Wednesday for the first time since sustaining a right rib-cage strain, and he told coaches he expects to spend the minimum time on the 15-day disabled list.
If he hits that target, Braun would be back in the lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Pirates at Miller Park.
"He says he feels good," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He hit [Tuesday] in the cage again, said he felt good. He thinks he's going to be ready in time."
That timing could potentially work well for the Brewers, who anticipate losing center fielder Carlos Gomez for at least a game or two next week. Gomez has a hearing with Major League Baseball on Friday to appeal his three-game suspension.
Roenicke remains committed to Kintzler
MILWAUKEE -- A day after Brandon Kintzler surrendered an eighth-inning lead for the second straight outing, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke remained committed to the right-hander in a setup role.
"I talked to him after the game in here, and it's like I told you guys, we need Kintzler," Roenicke said. "For our bullpen to be right, he needs to be a guy that's right in the mix of what we do in the seventh and eighth. If we don't have him, it makes a huge difference, especially with [Jim] Henderson out."
Henderson is on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and Tyler Thornburg has not been quite as sharp in recent outings, so Kintzler and left-hander Will Smith are the main bridges to closer Francisco Rodriguez at the moment.
Smith was unavailable Tuesday night after pitching two days in a row.
"We don't have any easy innings," Roenicke said. "They're always on the line. So it's not like I have an option of doing something different. We have to have some right-handers to get through these tough right-handed [hitters] to get to Frankie."
Roenicke said Wednesday that Henderson still has some shoulder discomfort and will probably be sidelined more than the minimum 15 days. When Henderson is ready to pitch, the Brewers will strongly consider a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.