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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke had no trouble giving an honest assessment of the "meatballs" he threw at the Chicago White Sox on Monday. But when the questions turned off the field, to the competitor with the big, new contract, he got quiet.
The topic was Matt Cain, who agreed to a five-year extension, reportedly worth $112.5 million, with the Giants on Monday that makes Cain the highest-paid right-handed pitcher in baseball history. It almost certainly has bearing on the Brewers' talks with Greinke, though Greinke wouldn't say so.
"We'll see," he said with a smile.
The Major League Baseball Players Association confirmed Monday morning that Greinke still has not registered an agent. That means he is speaking on his own behalf, though since March 18 he has deflected questions about business. Greinke told the team's three regular beat reporters on Monday that, "Business stuff, I don't feel is important for you guys to know until it actually comes out."
Greinke also declined to say whether he was open to continuing discussions past Friday, when Yovani Gallardo starts the Brewers' regular-season opener against the Cardinals. Greinke pitches the next day opposite Adam Wainwright.
Greinke is 28; Cain 27. Greinke has just over seven years of Major League service and Cain six, but both were on a path to hit free agency in October. Greinke has a 3.82 ERA and a 1.256 WHIP in 197 starts and 41 relief appearances. Cain has a 3.35 ERA and a 1.196 WHIP in 203 starts and one relief stint.
Greinke has a Cy Young Award. Cain has a World Series ring.
"Obviously, he's really good," Greinke said. "I can't really get into if I think I compare to him or I don't think I compare to him. That's more business stuff I don't feel like giving y'all my opinion on."
Greinke carried a 0.93 ERA into Monday's start against the White Sox but lasted only three innings, charged with six runs, five earned, on five hits including a home run, three walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch. Most of the damage came in a five-run second inning that began with an error charged to third baseman Brooks Conrad, then a Greinke walk and a hit. He typically has a photographic memory of every pitch, but when Greinke spoke to reporters a few minutes after leaving the game, he said he could scarcely remember the sequence.
"It was just such a mess, I can't really even think about it too much," Greinke said. "It felt like not a baseball game going on out there."
"It was more just getting behind in the count and throwing meatballs and letting them crush the ball," he said. "It was pretty stupid."
Hart to play in exhibitions, season opener
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Brewers expect to play with Hart on Opening Day.
Right fielder Corey Hart received medical clearance Monday to re-join the Brewers' big leaguers for exhibition games against the D-backs on Tuesday and Wednesday at Chase Field. He is scheduled for seven innings on Tuesday night, seven more on Wednesday afternoon, and, barring a setback with his surgically repaired right knee, he will be in right field when the Brewers start the regular season on Friday against the Cardinals.
"He's ready," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's actually pretty excited about it. Today, he woke up and came in and feels great."
Hart played Wednesday through Sunday in Minor League games, preserving the option of a backdated stint on the 15-day disabled list. The Brewers would forfeit that option if Hart appears in the Cactus League, so they are convinced he is ready for Opening Day.
Hart will be four weeks post-op on Tuesday. He had surgery March 6 to repair two cartilage tears in his right knee, and the Brewers predicted a 3-5 week rehabilitation. Using that time frame, Hart is coming in right on schedule.
"He pushed it," Roenicke said. "He got out there and got after it with the idea he would like to be ready for Opening Day. He would have been OK if we thought it was better as far as going to Triple-A for a few days, but he's pretty happy about [breaking camp in the Major Leagues]. Anytime you work hard, you want things to go well, and I think this went well."
Having Hart will be a boost for the Brewers, who are counting on him to bat fifth this season. That is a key spot in the batting order considering the Brewers have a new cleanup hitter, Aramis Ramirez, who is tasked with replacing some of the production lost when Prince Fielder left via free agency.
With Shaun Marcum (shoulder stiffness) slated to pitch Wednesday's spring finale against Arizona, the Brewers could begin the season at full strength. That's a big change from last year, when Hart, catcher Jonathan Lucroy, starter Zack Greinke and relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Manny Parra all began the season on the disabled list.
Roenicke said circumstances would dictate the extent of Hart's playing time in the early part of April.
Miss America to throw out ceremonial first pitch
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The reigning Miss America will throw a ceremonial first pitch before the Brewers' Opening Day game, part of festivities announced by the club on Monday.
Milwaukee's season opener is Friday against the Cardinals at Miller Park. Yovani Gallardo is scheduled to throw his first pitch at 3:10 p.m. CT.
First, Laura Kaeppeler, a native of Kenosha, Wis., will throw out the first pitch and Joseph Attanasio, the father of Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio, will follow tradition by singing the national anthem. Kaeppeler will return to perform God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch.
The Miller Park lots will open at noon on Friday, and ballpark gates will open two hours before the first pitch.
Consistent with recent years, the Brewers have arranged for overflow parking at Wisconsin State Fair Park for Opening Day. In the likely event that Miller Park lots reach capacity, fans may take the 84th St. exit from I-94 and enter through gate No. 7. From there, they will see signage and staff directing them to the parking area. A $15 fee will cover vehicle parking, and shuttle services are free. Shuttle services are scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. CT and will run until approximately 90 minutes after the game.
Tickets for the home opener are sold out. Limited seating remains for Saturday's game and tickets are available for Easter Sunday's game against the Cardinals.
The Brewers will be busy on Tuesday, with an afternoon game against the Cubs preceding the night game against the D-backs. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy, first baseman Mat Gamel and outfielder Nyjer Morgan will make the trip to Mesa, Ariz., but the rest of the afternoon roster will be Double-A Huntsville Stars, including starting pitcher Kyle Heckathorn. Huntsville is the only Brewers affiliate still in Arizona.
Randy Wolf will start the nightcap against Josh Collmenter and the D-backs, with the rest of Milwaukee's regulars in the lineup, including left fielder Ryan Braun, third baseman Aramis Ramirez and shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who will be returning from days off.