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03/01/11 3:23 PM EST

Saito's Brewers debut pushed back

GLENDALE, ARIZ. -- Add Takashi Saito to the list of Brewers being very cautious with minor medical matters. Saito was supposed to make his unofficial Brewers debut on Wednesday against the Cubs, but he requested the outing be pushed to Saturday against the Angels.

"Right now, I'm kind of tight in my hamstring and my hip," Saito said through translator Kosuke Inaji. "I don't think it's that big of a deal, but last year when I hurt my shoulder, I feel that the reason was I hurt my hamstring and tried to throw harder with my shoulder.

"It's still early in Spring Training, so I want to be careful right now."

On Wednesday, the 41-year-old Saito will throw a bullpen session instead.

The schedule shift means Saito is on pace for nine innings of Cactus League work this spring instead of 10. He said as long as he gets into eight games, he'll be ready for Opening Day.

Saito will be in the bullpen with right-hander LaTroy Hawkins, who is scheduled for his first mound work since undergoing right shoulder surgery last season. Hawkins will have to throw a series of bullpen sessions, then live batting practice before appearing in a Spring Training game.

If he continues to progress on schedule, Hawkins could pitch in a game by the middle of the month. He's aiming to be ready for the Brewers' March 31 season opener.

Hart injury means opportunity for others

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With Corey Hart expected to spend about two weeks on the Cactus League sidelines with a rib-cage strain, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke expects to get a more extended look at the other outfielders trying to win a place on the team.

That list includes Brandon Boggs, who has the benefit of a spot on the 40-man roster, and Jeremy Reed, a non-roster invitee to camp who has played in the Majors for the Mariners and Mets. It also includes Caleb Gindl and Logan Schafer, prospects taking part in their first big league camp.

Boggs and Reed started Tuesday's game against the White Sox, Boggs as the designated hitter and Reed as the left fielder.

"It'll give those guys who are fighting for a spot a lot more playing time, which is very important for them and important for us, too," Roenicke said. "I don't like to just go on Spring Training because some guys are fast starters and some guys aren't, but ... if you're deciding between a couple guys, maybe a guy has a better spring or maybe shows you he can play better defense. The more time they're out there, the more opportunity we get to [evaluate]."

The question is whether there's a spot to be won. Ryan Braun and Hart are locks at the outfield corners, and Carlos Gomez and Chris Dickerson figure to split time in center field. Veteran Mark Kotsay is in camp as a left-handed bench bat and occasional corner outfielder and first baseman, and Roenicke said last week that he considers Kotsay more a part of the outfield contingent than the infield.

As for Hart, he says he wasn't surprised that the team announced Monday he would miss two weeks. Earlier in the day, he seemed more optimistic of a quick recovery.

"I think the key is that in two weeks I should be playing," Hart said. "I'll take the week off to make sure I don't rush anything, but I've been progressing every day. There's no need to rush anything."

Counsell speaks out for Wisconsin unions

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Brewers infielder Craig Counsell voiced support Tuesday for union workers in Wisconsin who have rallied in Madison against proposed legislation that would remove some collective bargaining rights.

Counsell grew up in Wisconsin and is a longtime member of the Major League Baseball Players Association's executive board. The MLBPA released his statement:

"As a Major League baseball player for the Milwaukee Brewers who works in Wisconsin under a union contract and whose right to bargain collectively is guaranteed under federal law, I support the thousands of public sector employees who are threatened with the loss of that right under recently-proposed state legislation," Counsell said. "These employees are real people with real families whose livelihoods, careers and futures are being jeopardized. I urge the government of Wisconsin not to take away this most basic of union and human rights."

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.