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04/05/10 2:30 PM ET

Edmonds starts over Hart for Brewers

Macha cites veteran's success vs. Rockies' Jimenez

MILWAUKEE -- Corey Hart began the 2010 season on the Brewers' bench Monday, and he might have to get used to that feeling.

Veteran Jim Edmonds was the team's choice to start Opening Day in right field, something of a surprise considering Hart's $4.8 million salary and the fact he had started each of Milwaukee's past three season openers. Brewers manager Ken Macha cited Edmonds' limited success against Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez (3-for-5) and said Edmonds is slated for about 250 at-bats this season.

"I think Doug [Melvin, the Brewers' general manager] got Edmonds to face tough right-handed pitching, and the last time I checked, [Jimenez] is a tough right-handed pitcher," Macha said. "Corey will be in there [Tuesday night against Greg Smith].

"You guys have been around me for a year. Guys who are out there producing, they're going to get to play. It's going to be no different than it was last year. If somebody wants to step up and get on base, .350, .360, and hit some homers and play solid defense, we're going to give him an opportunity to play. Guys aren't going to be buried on the bench. They're going to be put out there, and we'll see how it works out.

"This is about production. We expect to win games. I, as a manager, will be evaluated on us winning games, and I'm certainly going to put guys out there in a position where they can be successful."

Hart politely declined to talk to reporters before batting practice on Monday. He collected four hits in exhibition games against the Tigers over the weekend, but finished Spring Training with a .172 batting average.

Macha stressed that the Hart-Edmonds duo was not a straight platoon. Edmonds is slated to start again on Wednesday against Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook because of his outstanding career numbers against the sinkerballer. Edmonds is 9-for-16 against Cook with three home runs and seven RBIs.

Next up for the Brewers are the Cardinals, who will present some more interesting choices for Macha. Neither Edmonds nor Hart have good career numbers against Friday starter Kyle Lohse, but Edmonds is 5-for-15 lifetime against Saturday starter Chris Carpenter, while Hart is 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. St. Louis will start youngster Jamie Garcia on Sunday.

Macha attributed much of Monday's hub-bub about the Hart snub to the drama of Opening Day.

"Opening Day is a little over-hyped," Macha said. "If this were the middle of the season, nobody would be asking me about Jim Edmonds."

Suppan encouraged by simulated game

MILWAUKEE -- Injured Brewers right-hander Jeff Suppan said his Sunday simulated game was a success, and that he expects to be ready to return from the disabled list when his 15-day stint expires on April 10.

Suppan, sidelined by a neck injury to start the season, threw more than 100 pitches in seven simulated innings at Maryvale Baseball Park on Sunday before traveling to Milwaukee for Monday's season opener.

"No problems," he said. "Overall, it felt good. We still have time to let [the neck] calm down, but I have definitely seen improvement."

The Brewers will face some decisions when Suppan returns. To activate him, they would have to remove someone else from the 25-man roster. There's also the matter of how he would be used; the Brewers are not planning to employ a fifth starter until April 14 or 15 against the Cubs, and Suppan is only one of three candidates.

Brewers rank 18th on USA Today payroll list

MILWAUKEE -- Poll five different sources and you will get five different projected payrolls for the Brewers in 2010, but the long-running USA Today database is one consistent measure of club expenditures throughout the years. The newspaper released its figures for 2010 on Monday, and the Brewers came in with the 18th-highest payroll of 30 Major League teams, with salaries totaling $81,108,278.

That's a club record by the publication's count, up from the Brewers' $80,937,499 Opening Day payroll in 2008. Last season, it came in at $80,182,502.

The USA Today figure does not account for the $4 million in deferred salary for Randy Wolf, but the Brewers' in-house payroll calculator would still come up with a significantly higher number. The newspaper doesn't figure so-called "likely incentives" that add to player salaries, nor does it count money included in trades, like the $7-plus million of Red Sox infielder Bill Hall's salary that the Brewers must pay this season. Milwaukee also budgeted about $2 million for in-season callups and figure the cost of insurance policies on certain contracts.

The "real" total is more than $90 million, according to principal owner Mark Attanasio.

"When I bought the team, I never envisioned a $90 million payroll," Attanasio said.

USA Today gets its figures from the MLB Players Association, club officials and Major League Baseball's central office. The average MLB player salary, according to the publication, is $2.7 million, down from $3.2 million in 2009. Sixteen of the 30 teams say payrolls increased over last season, including the Brewers.

Could a $100 million payroll be in Milwaukee's future?

"We have a little good news, and we also have a challenge," Attanasio said. "The good news is we re-negotiated our cable contract with [Fox Sports Wisconsin] starting in the year 2013, and it gives us a little bit of a bump there, so that might get us to that point where we could move up another $10 million or so. That said, we're probably running our ballpark to 90 percent capacity here, and I'm committed to keeping this an affordable experience for our fans. ...

"We're not really looking to raise ticket prices to raise payroll, so we've pretty much optimized what we can do here."

The Brewers have drawn more than three million fans in each of the past two seasons. They are also rare in Major League Baseball, according to Attanasio, in that sponsorships have continued to grow year after year, despite troubles in the larger economy.

Braun's restaurant open for business

MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun's Waterfront Grill was set to open its doors to the public for the first time on Monday night, just in time to feed fans heading home from the Brewers' season opener against the Rockies.

For the first week, the restaurant will be open for dinner only beginning at 4:30 p.m. CT. A full dinner menu will be available until 10:30 p.m., and from 10:30-1:30 a.m. a limited bar menu will be available.

Beginning Monday, April 12, the restaurant will be open for lunch at 11 a.m. CT.

For reservations, call (414) 727-2888. Ryan Braun's Waterfront Grill is at 102 N. Water St., in Milwaukee's historic Third Ward, the space formerly occupied by Fratellos Waterfront Restaurant.

This is not a brat and burger joint. Situated along the Milwaukee River, the upscale space has seating for 275, including a large outdoor patio with room for about 110 diners. The menu features fresh seafood in addition to steaks and chops, chicken, pastas, individual pizzas, sandwiches and hamburgers and kids fare, and the wine list includes private-label, Italian-style wines licensed to Braun. Valet parking is available.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.