Aoki undergoing physical exam today

The Brewers bought themselves some decision-making time by running Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki through a physical exam on Monday morning, a day after he showed off his skills to a group of club officials in Phoenix.

The sides have until 4 p.m. CT on Jan. 17 to strike a deal. If they do, Aoki would provide a left-handed bench bat and insurance against a possible suspension for left fielder Ryan Braun. If they do not strike a deal, then Aoki returns to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows for a sixth season and the Brewers are off the hook for his $2.5 million posting fee.

General manager Doug Melvin said he and other club officials were still mulling the next step. By administering a physical on Monday, they eliminated one of the technicalities that could have made the timetable tight later in the negotiating window.

“We worked him out, and then we had some discussions last night, and we’ll have some more today about whether to go further,” said  Melvin, who attended the workout.

Melvin, Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio, manager Ron Roenicke and coaches Jerry and Johnny Narron were among the club’s contingent at Maryvale Baseball Park for a Sunday workout that lasted just over an hour. Agent Nez Balelo and three others, including a translator, visited with Aoki.

He took batting practice and participated in running and throwing drills.

“He’s what you would expect from a player from Japan,” Melvin said. “The decision we have to make is, does he fit on our roster? That’s something we’ll talk about here in the next couple of days.”

Melvin’s decision-making team includes director of pro scouting Zack Minasian and special assistant Dock Groch, both of whom attended the workout. The group was traveling back to Milwaukee on Monday morning.

Aoki, a left-handed hitter, is a .329 hitter in five seasons with the Swallows, with 68 home runs, 295 RBIs, a .408 on-base percentage and 93 stolen bases.


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