Two seasons ago, Yuniesky Betancourt couldn't leave town fast enough as far as Milwaukee Brewers fans were concerned.

Then, when the Brewers brought him back as a utility man at the end of spring training, the uproar among the faithful was predictably loud.

It's funny how things work out, though, because with the season's first month nearly over Betancourt has been one of the Brewers' most productive hitters as well as a valuable player at multiple positions on defense.

Following Tuesday's 12-8 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, Betancourt was hitting .280 with six home runs and 21 runs batted in, with the latter two figures tying Ryan Braun for the team lead.

His performance, which has come with Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart on the disabled list, has been one of the major reasons the Brewers have rebounded from a 2-8 start to finish April with a winning record.

Not surprisingly, Betancourt is having plenty of fun.

"I feel good," Betancourt said through teammate Martin Maldonado. "I'm doing good and the team is doing good. That's the bottom line."

What infuriated Brewers fans - and management at times - in 2011 was Betancourt's impatience at the plate.

He hit a respectable .252 with 13 homers and 68 RBI as the starting shortstop on a team that advanced to the National League Championship Series, but his free-swinging ways led to an on-base percentage of just .271.

This season, thanks in large part to a stint in Mexico over the winter, Betancourt is displaying a much different approach at the plate. His on-base percentage was up to .305 coming into Tuesday.

"I like what he's doing, obviously," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I don't know if the pitches per at-bat show that, but he's different. He's taking pitches - especially the first pitch.

"Two years ago he led the league in first-pitch swings. (Now) he's driving the ball to all fields and doing a lot of things really well offensively."

Betancourt has been especially hot lately, with three homers and 11 RBI over his last seven games and even hit cleanup for a game as Roenicke continues to search for options in that spot while Ramirez is out.

"I'm working hard every day and try to go out there and have good ABs, and stay more focused on the strike zone," he said. "That helps."