PHOENIX -- Hunter Morris insisted Tuesday morning that he wasn't sweating his hitless start to Spring Training. An 0-for-4, three-strikeout afternoon against the Mariners left him 0-for-13 with five strikeouts so far.
"I've always kind of started slow and it takes me some time to get my timing, and then one day it clicks, and it's there for good," said Morris, a first baseman and MLB.com's fifth-best Brewers prospect. "Heck, last year I started the regular season 0-for-14, and that turned out pretty good."
He went on to bat .303 with 28 home runs and 113 RBIs in 136 games, winning the Southern League Most Valuable Player Award and Brewers Minor League Player of the Year honors. Morris was rewarded with his first invitation to big league Spring Training camp and actually has a shot at the Opening Day roster in light of knee injuries suffered by first basemen Corey Hart and Mat Gamel.
Morris played all nine innings on Monday and was back in the starting lineup on Tuesday against the Mariners, serving as the designated hitter. Another of the candidates to fill in while Hart rehabs from surgery, Alex Gonzalez, started at first base.
Morris popped out to the catcher to end the second inning and struck out in the fourth, the sixth and the ninth.
"Some guys just start early in Spring Training, they're locked in. Others need a lot of at-bats," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Hopefully we'll get him a couple of hits and get him going. He'll get a day off [here and there], but we want to see him get a lot of at-bats."
Morris called that opportunity "all you can ask for."
"It is always a struggle the first few days, first few at-bats, but I actually feel like I'm seeing the ball well," he said. "The couple of strikeouts [before Tuesday], I've chased fastballs up in the zone, and maybe that's just being a little over-aggressive late in the count. For the most part, I don't feel like I'm missing balls by eight feet. I've had a couple of long at-bats -- 10 pitches. I feel like I'm close."
Three new relievers working into Brewers' mix
PHOENIX -- The first of the Brewers' key bullpen additions will make his debut Wednesday, and two others are not far behind.
Right-hander Burke Badenhop, acquired in an early-December trade with the Rays, is on the list to pitch against the Royals in Surprise. Left-handers Michael Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny, acquired via free agency after pitching last season with the Nationals, are expected to debut by the end of the work week.
"When we originally talked about it, Kranny [pitching coach Rick Kranitz] was saying that especially with the relievers, there's no reason that they need to pitch before March 1," Roenicke said. "If they do fine, but there's not a reason to. They don't need it."
None of those three relievers are pitching in the World Baseball Classic, so the Brewers felt no urgency to rush them into game action. Closer John Axford and setup man Jim Henderson, though, are pitching for Canada in the Classic and each made their second Spring Training appearances on Tuesday against the Mariners.
"[Kranitz] has got certain outings that he would like guys to throw," Roenicke said. "It changes from reliever to reliever."
Narveson set to make return from surgery
PHOENIX -- Brewers left-hander Chris Narveson will cross another threshold in his comeback on Wednesday when he starts against the Royals at Surprise Stadium, his first outing since undergoing shoulder surgery last May.
Narveson had surgery May 1 to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff and missed the rest of the season. He was throwing bullpen sessions before the end of the Brewers' season and has been a full participant in Spring Training camp.
"I'm more excited to see where he is in three or four outings, if he's getting his stuff locked in and whether he can be that guy that he was," manager Ron Roenicke said.
Narveson is scheduled for about two innings, Roenicke said.
• Roenicke is expecting Hall of Famer Robin Yount to make his first appearance at Maryvale Baseball Park in the coming days. Yount is officially on the roster as a camp instructor.
• Closer John Axford had a strange outing against the Mariners on Tuesday. Pitching the eighth inning with a 4-3 lead, he struck out the first two batters he faced, then worked to 0-and-2 against Eric Thames. But Thames walked, Carlos Peguero tied the game with a double to left field, and Justin Smoak hit a go-ahead, two-run home run.
"Two outs and 0-2, and then a walk and he falls apart," Roenicke said. "He knows, you've got to be able to put somebody away, and he's certainly got the stuff to do it."