Brewers to sign Lohse

News that the Brewers were on the verge of adding a free agent from a fierce division rival was met with glee in Milwaukee’s Spring Training clubhouse on Monday, when word spread that former Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse had agreed to a multi-year contract. Lohse was expected at Maryvale Baseball Park after 10 a.m. Arizona time for a physical exam.

The Cardinals, who would get Draft compensation for losing Lohse, did not confirm the deal. Neither did the Brewers, who will surrender the 17th overall selection in the Draft when the deal is official. Top Milwaukee officials were in the middle of a staff-wide meeting when MLB Network’s Jon Heyman broke the news. After that meeting, general manager Doug Melvin indicated he expected to have news to share after lunch.

“I think everybody was trying to find a high note leaving spring,” said Brewers first baseman Corey Hart. “You’re looking for a spark. This is definitely a spark. I think everybody in here was hoping they would get an established pitcher like that.”

Lohse, 34 years old, went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA for the Cardinals last season, numbers that added up to a seventh-place standing in the National League’s Cy Young balloting. Lohse pitched to a 55-35 record and a 3.90 ERA in 137 games for St. Louis over the last five seasons.

He has been throwing simulated games in nearby Scottsdale, Ariz., so Lohse should not need much more time to be ready for the regular season. His arrival would give the Brewers some much-needed experience behind Opening Day starter Yovani Gallardo, pushing Marco Estrada, Wily Peralta, Chris Narveson and Mike Fiers down the depth chart.

Lohse, a former 28th-round draftee, has gone 6-8 with a 4.44 ERA in 22 career appearances against the Brewers, and he spent some time in the NL Central with Cincinnati (in 2006 and 2007). Lohse, for his career, has racked up a 118-109 record with a 4.45 ERA in 118 games.

The Brewers will give up their first 2013 Draft pick — No. 17 overall, which, in 2012, was worth $2 million — to sign Lohse. Their first pick will be No. 54.

The Cardinals will receive a comp pick — No. 28 overall, which, in 2012, was worth $1.65 million. They’ll have the No. 19 and 28 picks.

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