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Brewers manager Ron Roenicke likes career-long outfielder Corey Hart at first base

Aug 1, 2012, 2:19 PM EDT

corey hart getty Getty Images

Mat Gamel got hurt and Taylor Green didn’t hit, so the Brewers turned to Corey Hart as Prince Fielder‘s replacement at first base and … well, manager Ron Roenicke likes it a lot.

Hart had started just two career games at first base prior to this season–compared to nearly 7,000 innings as an outfielder–but he’s now logged 50 starts at the position while hitting well and if it’s up to Roenicke he’ll remain there long term.

“That’s [general manager] Doug [Melvin]‘s decision but I’ve told Doug he’s a difference-maker at first base for me,” Roenicke told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Some because of the way he plays and some because he’s physically huge.”

Hart is 6-foot-6 and his defensive numbers in the outfield were never great, so the move makes sense as long as the Brewers have basically given up on Gamel returning from knee surgery to establish himself as a regular. Roenicke called Gamel’s situation an “issue” but considering he’s 27 years old and has never had more than 150 plate appearances in a season as a big leaguer … well, that’s an issue the Brewers can address if/when Gamel is healthy and hitting.

Hart has one more season and $10 million remaining on his contract and it looks like he’ll be spending it as a first baseman.

  1. madnova - Aug 1, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Gamel has probably played more in right and third than first anyway…He can come back trying to make the team as an outfielder…or more likely a utility man.

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Article does leave out that Hart was drafted as a 1B so the position isn’t exactly foreign to him. And I don’t know that Taylor Green was given much of a shot to win the job, although him not hitting is absolutely true. Corey has played fantastic there though, I’d prefer to see him stay also.

    • skipperxc - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      Absolutely correct. Funny thing about being a 1B in the Brewers system, we had a guy there that was blocking him. Big dude, lefty bat, hit for power. Can’t for the life of me remember where he went…

      • brewcrewfan54 - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:29 PM

        Brad Nelson. Last I heard I think he was in the Rangers farm system but that was a while ago.

      • skipperxc - Aug 1, 2012 at 3:51 PM

        haha well played sir

  3. onbucky96 - Aug 1, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Good. Best D @ 1st in Beer City since Sexton. Hope Dougy signs him to an extension, contact is up after 2013.

    • ufullpj - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:15 PM

      Haudricourt mentioned in the blog post that Hart told him he’d be open to the extension with Milwaukee. I’d like to think the feeling is mutual.

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