Will The Brewers Have Another Unlikely Opening Day Outfielder In 2012?

Over the last couple of weeks we've been following Corey Hart's situation pretty closely: We're still not sure if he'll be ready for Opening Day, and we also don't know who will play right field in the season's opening games if he's not ready to join the team.

It's worth noting that situations like this are hardly unusual. In fact, the Brewers have had at least one unlikely candidate start in the outfield on Opening Day in three of the last four seasons. Let's take a look back:

2011: Mark Kotsay in right field

With Corey Hart opening the season on the DL veteran journeyman Mark Kotsay, who hadn't posted an OPS+ above 100 since 2004, started and batted sixth in the lineup. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout before being lifted for a pinch hitter in this game, and hit .235/.350/.265 while playing in 26 of the team's first 37 games.

2010: Jim Edmonds in right field

After a disappointing 2009 campaign and an arbitration victory, Corey Hart played his way out of the 2010 Opening Day lineup and was replaced by Jim Edmonds, who hadn't played baseball at all the previous season. The 39-year-old went 1-for-4 with a walk that day to start a season where he hit .286/.350/.493 in 73 games.

2009: None

The last time the Brewers had their three regular outfielders in the lineup on Opening Day was 2009, when Ryan Braun (making his first career start in left), Mike Cameron and Corey Hart were in the lineup. It's also worth noting that this was Corey Hart's last Opening Day start.

2008: Tony Gwynn Jr. in center field

The Brewers had signed Mike Cameron to man center field for the 2008 season, but before starting his campaign he had to serve a 25-game suspension for taking a banned substance. Enter TGJ, a former second round pick who had hit just .260/.307/.315 in the majors. He went 2-for-3 with a stolen base in a 4-3 extra inning win over the Cubs, producing his last multi-hit game as a Brewer. He played just 28 more games for Milwaukee after that, batting .154/.250/.179 before being traded to the Padres.

The Brewers had their three regular outfielders in the Opening Day lineup in 2007, but even that day featured an unusual side note: Bill Hall, who had started just three games in the outfield in his major league career, was the center fielder. Geoff Jenkins and Corey Hart started alongside him that day.

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