Brewers, Hawkins heating up?

The Brewers intensified their pursuit of free agent reliever LaTroy Hawkins on Tuesday and expected to continue discussions with his representatives on Wednesday, the last full day of the Winter Meetings.

Hawkins is coming off a two-year deal, the first shortened by a shoulder injury but the second a successful comeback in which Hawkins made 52 appearances with a 2.42 ERA and a team-best 20 holds. The Brewers have interest in bringing back the 38-year-old to help fill the innings in front of closer John Axford, a role that, at the moment, is unspoken for because Hawkins, Takashi Saito and Francisco Rodriguez are all free agents.

Hawkins spends the winter in Dallas and has attended the Meetings both Monday and Tuesday night. He ran into general manager Doug Melvin and the Brewers’ contingent on Tuesday.

A number of other teams are scanning the same relief market, and Hawkins could also make sense for clubs like the Angels, Rockies and Twins. He began his career in Minnesota and pitched there from 1995-03, and pitched in Colorado in 2007.

The Brewers have also maintained contact with Saito, whose primary agent, Nez Balelo of CAA Sports, arrived in Dallas on Tuesday.

On a separate front, Melvin and Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio were part of a contingent that met for 30 minutes late Tuesday with agent Scott Boras, who represents both Rodriguez and free agent first baseman Prince Fielder. Attanasio was already in Dallas to sit-in on the team’s brainstorming sessions, and Melvin said the Brewers’ group was out to dinner when Boras called to request a meeting.

Melvin downplayed the significance of the sit-down, saying, “It doesn’t hurt to sit down and see where they’re at.”

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