Brewers decline Rickie Weeks’ option _lowres

Milwaukee Brewers' Rickie Weeks gets a hit off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Daniel Corcino to drive in a run in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers announced Friday it had voided the contract of former Southern University star Rickie Weeks.

Weeks was set to make $11.5 million in 2015. The second baseman is now eligible for free agency.

The Brewers had the right to void the salary because Weeks did not have 1,200 plate appearances in 2013-14 combined, with at least 600 this year.

Weeks, 32, the second player taken in the 2003 draft, batted .274 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs in 252 at-bats in 2014.

“It’s a baseball business decision,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Scooter (Gennett) is a younger player and we think he’s ready to take over. I’ve always been a Rickie guy. What we’re going to miss with Rickie is he can swing the bat; he still has great bat speed. We didn’t have a spot to give him more at-bats. I’m not saying he’s a DH, but if we were an American League team, I guarantee you he would have had 400 at-bats this year.

“He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve been associated with here. He goes out and plays the game every day, never complains about anything. I always loved Rickie in the leadoff spot. You never knew what he might do to start a game. And he was mentally tough. I think we’ll miss that.”

The Brewers also exercised right-hander Yovani Gallardo’s $13 million option for next year and their half of third baseman Aramis Ramirez’s $14 million option.