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"The guy who gets shoved around"

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Or, as Doug Melvin puts it, "The Billy Hall Award."  The Journal-Sentinel has some good info about Corey Hart's future this year, courtesy of Doug:

"We think it's time for Corey to get a good shot, unless he falls flat on his face in spring training," said Melvin. "If we could get him 250 at-bats this year, that's a step for his development. Corey brings some things to the table."

Beyond looking at Hart in the outfield, the Brewers want him to get some time at first base during camp. Hart, who will turn 24 during spring training, originally was drafted as a first baseman in 2000 and showed considerable promise before being moved from the position after Prince Fielder was taken in the first round in 2002.

Giving Hart time at first base is a smart move. Fielder is a left-handed hitter who likely will need to sit occasionally against tough left-handed pitchers. Hart is a right-handed hitter with power who at 6-foot-6 gives a bigger target for infielders than the 6-0 Fielder....

Hart might even see action on occasion as a pinch-runner. He has good speed for a tall, lanky player, as evidenced by his 31 stolen bases in 113 games at Class AAA Nashville last season.

Since it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Prince Fielder won't start every day, occasionally sitting against lefties in particular, I'm really impressed by Melvin's approach here.  It takes guts to hand a job to somebody, like Hardy last year and Prince this year.  But last year Billy Hall provided a JJ-insurance policy.  While it's true that Koskie and Cirillo can both play first, this makes it sound like Hart will be Fielder's platoon caddy.  For a team on the cusp of contention, that's almost unheard of--give an important job to someone with next to no ML experience, and back him up with another rookie!

As for the pinch-running thing: very cool.  Too many players get shoved into roles, and Corey could've become a "big, power-hitting 1B/OF" a long time ago, but it's to the credit of the organization that he didn't.  And if he's being eyed as a PR option, that makes it less likely that somebody like Zach Sorenson will earn a spot on the opening day roster.  

Did I mention I like Doug Melvin?