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Corey Hart Is The NL Central's First Spring Training Casualty

The Milwaukee Brewers got Ryan Braun back for 50 games after his suspension appeal came through, but it looks like Corey Hart could be out for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months after a knee injury required arthroscopic surgery. It's bad news for the Brewers, who were counting on a full season of Hart—he played 130 games last year, slugging .510—to help replace Prince Fielder's production. In Hart's place they're likely to give Japanese import Norichika Aoki a longer-than-expected look; he could replace Hart's plus defense and solid on-base percentage, but he's not likely to hit 10 home runs any time soon, let alone 26.

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Nobody's quite sure how long Hart will be gone—he could miss anywhere from a few games to, as Ron Roenicke told Tom Haudricourt, "much longer." If it's much longer the Brewers might have to consider picking somebody up off the scrap heap, if for no reason other than to back up both Aoki and presumptive first baseman Mat Gamel.

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In case you weren't sure how important the Ryan Braun decision was for Milwaukee: Without Hart and Braun, the Brewers' starting outfield would be Norichika Aoki, Carlos Gomez, and Nyjer Morgan. I hope you like light-hitting center fielders who can get on base and run really fast!

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