The Angels and Brewers begin a rare Interleague series at Miller Park on Friday, and it serves as a chance for two old friends to reunite on the baseball field.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke have known each other since the beginning of their own professional playing careers; Scioscia was the Dodgers' first-round Draft pick in 1976 and Roenicke was the team's first-rounder in '77, and when the Dodgers sent Roenicke to play first base and the outfield in Class A ball in Clinton, Iowa, that summer, Scioscia was the catcher.
The two advanced through the Dodgers' farm system to the Major Leagues and were Dodgers teammates for parts of three seasons from 1981-83. They were reunited a few miles south in Anaheim when Scioscia was hired to manage the Angels in 2000. Roenicke spent 11 seasons as Scioscia's third base coach and bench coach before he moved to Milwaukee to manage the Brewers in '10.
Roenicke and Scioscia see each other in Spring Training and trade phone calls and text messages throughout the year. Roenicke said the last series of texts was about a week ago, but it did not include talk of the Angels' and Brewers' season-long struggles. For the most part, the two rarely talk business.
"Maybe a 'hang in there' if things are going bad," Roenicke said. "We don't usually go there."
When asked about the influence Scioscia has had on his career, Roenicke said, "The influence is that we've been friends for a long time. I think when he first got the job as manager I had managed a lot more than he had, so we had talked a lot through those years when he was thinking about managing. Once he got 2-3 years into it, I saw how good he was at it.
"Some of the things he does, I brought over here with me. He's got a great baseball mind, but he's also got a great sense of humor and is a great communicator. I like all the things he does."
The only Angels' visit to Miller Park to play against the Brewers came in 2002 and resulted in an L.A. sweep. The Angels did, however, return to Miller Park in '07 to face the Indians in a series that was forced there by a blizzard in Cleveland. They charged $10 for tickets and drew a surprisingly large crowd of 19,031.
Jered Weaver, who threw eight innings of one-run ball Sunday, will get the start for the Angels with an emphasis on finishing the season strong.
"I missed a big portion of the season with a broken elbow, and it was tough to get back into feeling strong again," Weaver said. "I've had a couple rough ones the last couple starts and just wanted to go out there and fill up the zone and try to get some zeros. I was able to do that [Sunday]."
The Brewers will send right-hander Wily Peralta to the mound. Peralta has a 4.51 ERA this season and has struggled at home, posting a 5.17 mark in 13 starts at Miller Park.
Two of his last three home starts have been strong, but his latest was not as good, as he allowed seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Reds.
Angels: Jimenez rejoins team
Luis Jimenez had to catch a red-eye flight and didn't arrive in St. Petersburg until shortly after 6 a.m. ET, but the third baseman started Thursday's game -- hitting an RBI single in his first at-bat and adding a double for a 2-for-3 day -- and is ready to audition for the third-base job.
"How can I be tired here? I'm not tired," Jimenez said.
Jimenez was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to replace Chris Nelson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
After Alberto Callaspo was traded to Oakland, the Angels' future third baseman became a bit of a mystery. Jimenez figures to get a lot of the starts for the rest of the season and plans to make the most of the opportunity.
"I'm not afraid to do it," Jimenez said. "I'm not going to say I'm going to hit 20 home runs or I'm going to hit .330, but I'm going to do the best I can."
• The 2013 season began with questions regarding how the constant Interleague schedule would play out.
Some were not sure how teams would adjust, and it was uncertain how American League pitchers -- who had to start, stop and resume hitting, rather than just focus on it for one specific stretch -- would handle the change.
"It hasn't been as big an issue," Scioscia said. "It could be a distraction, because usually you have that whole Interleague timeframe that you get ready for, but [Weaver] was out hitting [on Tuesday], Jerome [Williams] was out hitting. These guys have been hitting for a week leading up to it, and it's worked out."
The Angels opened the season in Cincinnati and also made a trip to Wrigley Field in July for their two Interleague road series this season.
Brewers: Gennett continues roll
Scooter Gennett had three hits on Thursday to continue his hot-hitting month of August in the absence of Rickie Weeks.
Gennett took over playing time at second base for the Brewers after Weeks was lost for the season with a torn tendon in his left hamstring suffered on Aug. 7. Gennett has made the most of the late-season opportunity, hitting .422 with four home runs, nine RBIs and 12 runs scored in 17 appearances, including 16 starts at second base.
The former Brewers' 16th-round Draft pick (2009) has raised the question of if it should be him or Weeks as the Opening Day second baseman to start 2014.
"I don't know," Roenicke said Thursday. "I don't even really want to think about what we're doing [next year]. I like him a lot. It's not a question of whether we like him or not."
• Right-hander Johnny Hellweg went 0-3 with a 10.97 ERA in three starts and a relief appearance with the Brewers, but is 12-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 Triple-A starts. As a result of those numbers, Hellweg was named the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Year on Wednesday.
Hellweg is expected to be called up to the Brewers when rosters expand in September.
"Hopefully he can come up here and do the same thing," Roenicke said.
• The Angels lead the all-time series against the Brewers, 183-171.
• Peralta has never faced the Angels, and Weaver has never faced the Brewers.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.