Jenkins Finally Sees Postseason Action at Miller Park
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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- For Geoff Jenkins, the good-natured ribbing began right after the Philadelphia Phillies arrived at Milwaukee's Miller Park.
"The house that Jenks built!" infielder Greg Dobbs hooted.
As far as his teammates are concerned, Jenkins is the mayor of Milwaukee. Jenkins, one of the more popular players in recent Brewers franchise history, signed as a free agent with Philadelphia in the offseason.
Now he's finally getting his chance to see a postseason game in Milwaukee, something he always dreamed of but never got in 10 seasons with the Brewers. In an odd twist of fate, he's now trying to help send his former teammates home for the winter.
Jenkins' role with the Phillies, however, is unclear. After signing a $13 million, two-year deal with Philadelphia as a free agent in the offseason, Jenkins spent most of the year platooning with Jayson Werth in right field.
Then he missed two weeks with a hip flexor injury, returning in mid-September to find Werth basically had become an everyday player.
"Obviously, I got injured at a weird time," said Jenkins, who hit .246 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs. "But for me, I went to Philadelphia as a free agent to be on a winner, and here we are at this point in time with a chance to close this thing out."
Despite facing Brewers right-hander Dave Bush in Saturday night's Game 3, the right-handed Werth started ahead of the left-handed Jenkins.
Now Jenkins figures his best chance at contributing in the playoffs is as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement. He came in to play right as part of a double switch in the sixth Saturday night and flied out in the eighth inning of Philadelphia's 4-1 loss.
"Sure, everybody would like to be playing a bigger role, a more important role, whatever," Jenkins said. "But you know, you just have to keep in mind that you are part of the team."
And it's a team that has a chance to win, something Jenkins certainly didn't have in his early years with the Brewers.
"Early on in my career here, during spring training, you were out of the playoffs already," Jenkins said. "You just knew. We just didn't have the personnel to get the job done."
That's not the case anymore. Despite blowing the 5 1/2-game wild-card lead they held at the beginning of September, the Brewers and their talented core of young players rallied in the final week of the season to make their first playoff appearance since 1982.
"I'm sure he would have liked to have done it here," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "He put in all the years in the losing years here, and we were getting close. Geoff's a good guy. He plays the game hard, and always has. He's in the postseason -- no matter who he's with, I think it's probably going to be exciting for him."
It was, but Jenkins said he also enjoyed watching his former teammates finally break through.
"I was just as excited for them as I was for us," Jenkins said. "I worked hard with them, played with them, care a lot about them. And I was excited for them."
But Jenkins knows it didn't come easily for the Brewers. Jenkins called the firing of Brewers manager Ned Yost with two weeks left in the season a tough situation for principal owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin.
"It's your worst nightmare, having to pull that move with that few games left," Jenkins said. "You know, tough decisions are part of the game, and I think whatever it may be, they felt the necessary need to do that to try to get them over the hump."
Given his firsthand knowledge of how hard it can be to make the playoffs, Jenkins couldn't help but shake his head as he watched the Phillies' September call-ups celebrating a division title.
"Their first go-round, they're popping champagne on the field. It's an unbelievable feeling for them," Jenkins said. "So you look at that and you think, 'Gosh, it took me that long to get to that point."'
But now that he has, he likes the Phillies' chances beyond simply winning one series.
"It took a while -- almost 11 years," Jenkins said. "But obviously getting to this point, it's great. I feel like we have a team that can go all the way, not just win the series, but win the whole thing."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)