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02/25/11 4:08 PM EST

Axford one of three Brewers still unsigned

PHOENIX -- Brewers closer John Axford is one of three Brewers still unsigned for 2011, and he revealed his negotiating strategy on Friday.

"I'm holding out for a billion dollars," Axford said.

He was kidding, of course. In reality there is little negotiating between the Brewers and their so-called zero to three players -- those without the Major League service time necessary to qualify for arbitration. The team uses a fixed formula to determine salaries for such players based on the annual Elias rankings and other factors, including awards.

It's why Zach Braddock, who spent most of last season in the big leagues, signed for $424,000, September call-up Mike McClendon would earn $416,000 in the Majors and Pat Egan, who has yet to throw a Major League pitch, signed for the league minimum of $414,000.

If a player opts not to sign the Brewers' offer, the team can renew his contract for the salary of its choosing beginning Wednesday.

Besides Axford, third baseman Casey McGehee and pitcher Mark Rogers remain unsigned.

"It's not like I'm worried about it, by any means," Axford said. "As long as I get to play baseball, I'm cool with it."

Axford said that he was about four days away from throwing against hitters for the first time. He was bumped back a bit by a bout of food poisoning early in camp, but has steadily worked his way back.

Off the field, Axford is letting his Facebook friends choose his entry music for 2011. Fifteen songs are in the running, and Axford said he would eventually whittle the list down to several finalists.

Lucroy practicing patience post-surgery

PHOENIX -- Catcher Jonathan Lucroy returned to Brewers camp on Friday with his fractured right pinkie finger heavily wrapped and his patience ready to be tested.

Lucroy underwent surgery Thursday to insert a pin into his fractured finger. He's expected to need four weeks to fully recover, and until a follow-up doctor's appointment next week, he will only observe the Brewers' workouts.

"They don't want this to get infected," he said, holding up a finger that was splinted and wrapped. "So, no catching, not for a while.

"It's very awkward. I'm going to be very uncomfortable. I feel like a coach or something, or a batboy. But it's part of it. I can't do anything to re-injure it or hurt myself even worse, so I'm not going to take any chances. I'm a very impetuous person, very impatient, so I want to get after it, but that wouldn't be the smart thing to do."

Lucroy was hurt during a drill on Wednesday in which the catchers worked on taking throws from the outfield. The baseball took a bad hop and fractured the first knuckle of Lucroy's finger, near the fingertip.

Dr. Don Sheridan, the same hand specialist who has worked on Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, inserted an inch-long pin to hold the bones in place to heal. At some point, that pin will be removed.

By Friday, Lucroy had accepted his situation. He was not so calm on Wednesday afternoon.

"I was pretty upset about it," he said. "But after I started thinking about it, I realized that if it was going to happen, it's better to happen now and get it over with. It's the first major injury I've had, so it's something I have to deal with personally.

"It's a setback, yeah. But I don't think it's anything we can't overcome."

Bigger role for Robin in Brewers camp

PHOENIX -- The Brewers will see a lot of their franchise player this spring.

Hall of Famer Robin Yount lives in the Phoenix area and always drops by camp for a day or two of Spring Training, but this year he's expected to be a regular part of the staff right up to the start of the season. General manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke extended the invitation after Roenicke chatted with Yount at an offseason event in Los Angeles.

"It's huge," Roenicke said. "It isn't necessarily that he's a Hall of Famer, it's the quality of the person. Today's players, they're not in awe of guys that are in the Hall of Fame. It's certainly important for them for the credibility, obviously, but they're looking at the guy. Is this a guy that's helping them?"

Yount, Roenicke says, is a guy who can help them. Yount played shortstop and center field, so he knows defense. He topped 3,000 hits, so he knows offense. And he was a bench coach in Arizona and Milwaukee, so he knows teaching.

"He wants to help these guys out, and he's got all of these other credentials," Roenicke said. "So it's huge having him here in this camp."

Other former Brewers like Gorman Thomas and Jim Gantner are also expected to make their annual visits, Roenicke said.

Last call

Manager Ron Roenicke said that he'd like to pair a right-handed hitting, middle-infield type with utility infielder Craig Counsell on the Opening Day roster, an indication that Luis Cruz has a very good chance to break camp with the big league club. Cruz, 27, played shortstop last season at Triple-A Nashville and had a career year. He is currently out of Minor League options. Not counting the backup catcher, Cruz could be the only right-handed hitter on a bench projected to include Counsell, outfielder/first baseman Mark Kotsay and outfielder Chris Dickerson. ... If Mother Nature permits, the Brewers will play a very short intrasquad game at Maryvale Baseball Park on Sunday at about 11:30 a.m. local time. Roenicke does not expect to play more than two or three innings. ... Tickets for individual Brewers games go on sale Saturday at 9 a.m. CT at Brewers.com Only a very limited number of tickets to the home opener are available, and will be sold only at the box office.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.