Brewers outfielder Corey Hart knows that many of you reading this are down on him for the moment. He’s determined to do everything possible on the field this summer to win you back.
“You feel kind of bad because it’s hard for the fans to understand this process,” Hart said Friday, when an arbitration panel ruled in his favor and awarded him a $4.8 million salary for 2010. “Sometimes as a player you have to stand up for yourself, and it was important to play it out. I’m really happy that it worked out.
“But I know that there are hundreds and hundreds of fans on the blogs who say I’m greedy or that I’m asking too much. I hope they understand that the system is there and that there are reasons we asked for what we asked for. I think you guys who know me know that I’m a pretty good person, a family man, and that I like it here [in Milwaukee]. I love it here. This is just part of the business.
“To get back the fans, I just have to go out there and play my best. I know that last year wasn’t a great year for me, marred by injury, too, and I have to go out and hopefully win the people over again. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m ready to do it.”
Hart has slimmed down this winter, dropping about 24 pounds from his bulkiest point last season. He’s already been to Maryvale Baseball Park this month to work on his swing with Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum.
The Brewers are counting on Hart more than ever in 2010 because they lost a lot of power by trading shortstop J.J. Hardy and letting center fielder Mike Cameron leave via free agency. Those players’ replacements, Alcides Escobar and Carlos Gomez, have a combined 13 home runs in 395 Major League games.
If Hart can return to his 20-plus homer output, he could help fill that void. It would also go a long way to winning back some of you fans.