Monday, April 05, 2010

No Sunglasses On Opening Day: Corey Hart Benched For Jim Edmonds

Monday is Opening Day around baseball, which is always a good thing. For a sports fan, this basically guarantees that there will be something watchable on television every day from now through the summer.

Hockey will end in two months, as will the NBA season, and NASCAR only shows up on weekends (when they aren't taking weekends off). Baseball is every day.

The Milwaukee Brewers have high expectations for their offense again this season. They should. It was really good last year, despite the issues they had with consistency. The pitching staff doomed them, frankly, and that probably won't happen again. The thought is that if this team can hit a little bit, they're going to have a chance to be really good.

Every preview you could find that projected the Brewers' Opening Day lineup had Corey Hart in right field. And why not? He was a bit down last year, but everyone figured he would bounce back.

Of course, he responded to all those expectations by hitting a blistering .172 in spring training, showing fans all the attributes of Bad Corey that infuriated them last season. He flailed at bad pitches, was a statue as good ones went by, and was a general non-factor in the offense.

Hart's at-bats seemed to improve as the spring wore on, but it wasn't enough to save his Opening Day start.

Instead, it will be veteran Jim Edmonds starting for the Brewers Monday against Colorado.

Edmonds was 3 for 5 vs. Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez with two doubles and a triple and Hart was 1 for 6. Manager Ken Macha has said for days he hadn't decided who would start in right and it appears Hart's poor spring cost him his chance.

Edmonds was a non-roster invitee to spring training, and while I wasn't surprised that he made the club as a reserve outfielder (the bench needed another left-handed hitter), this news floored me.

Good for Edmonds, but what does this say about Hart? Macha might preach that the matchup dictated this move, but those are insanely small sample sizes, and could at best have only been used as a tiebreaker.

The reality is that Hart put himself in this position by having a terrible spring. If he hadn't hit .172 in March, he could be wearing his sunglasses in the daytime on a beautiful afternoon at Miller Park.

It doesn't help that Hart did that after taking his team to an arbitration hearing and winning a higher salary for this season.

Go earn it, kid ... with or without the sunglasses.

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