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Melvin: No talks between Brewers, Hart

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have yet to begin discussions with right fielder-turned-first baseman Corey Hart about a contract extension, general manager Doug Melvin said Friday, shooting down a report that emerged from baseball's General Managers Meetings.

"Haven't talked to him," Melvin said. "His agent was here, but we never had a conversation." reporter Ken Rosenthal later corrected his original report, saying he had misinterpreted what he had been told about the situation. The original item said Hart and agent Jeff Berry of CAA Sports were seeking a three-year deal, but the Brewers "might prefer" a two-year deal, plus an increase to the $10 million salary Hart is already scheduled to earn in 2013, the final year of his current contract.

Those discussions could -- and probably will -- eventually commence. But they have not commenced yet.

"It was quiet," Melvin said of his stay in Indian Wells, Calif. "More administrative things, talked to some clubs, talked to a few agents here, but nothing significant. [The Meetings were] just sort of the first step in the offseason that you normally go through. The next step is to take the information back; we've got scouts meetings next week, our pro scouts are all coming in for three days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and we'll just go over rosters and free-agent lists.

"That will be the next step, but nothing is happening at this point. More of gathering information and filtering through the so-called noise and rumors."

Hart has discussed openly his desire for an extension since July, when he asked Berry to pass word to Melvin that Hart was open to playing either right field -- the spot he manned for Milwaukee since midway through the 2006 season -- or first base, where he took over this past season after the Brewers lost Mat Gamel to a knee injury.

Hart, 31 in March, hoped that expressing such openness would dissuade the Brewers from trading him at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, while also setting the stage for talks about a contract extension.

"Obviously, I'd like to stay with the Brewers," Hart told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in the wake of Friday's original report. "I haven't heard anything from Jeff yet about what the Brewers have in mind. He didn't know when they might talk about it.

"If it happened, it would be awesome. I've played my whole career in Milwaukee and I'd like to stay there. Right now, we're just waiting to see what happens. I'm signed for next year."

Hart, an 11th-round Draft pick of the Brewers in 2000 and the organization's longest-tenured player, is coming off a fine season, having batted .270 with 30 home runs and 83 RBIs. He has hit at least 20 home runs in five of the past six seasons and at least 26 home runs in each of the past three years.

Hart was also surprisingly proficient at first base, a position he had not manned regularly since 2002 in the Class A California League. Manager Ron Roenicke has stated the case for Hart to return to first base in 2013, bumping Gamel to a probable utility role.

If the Brewers and Hart are unable to find common ground, the club could use Hart at first base in 2013 before turning over the position to prospect Hunter Morris, the MVP of the Double-A Southern League in 2012 who batted .303 with 28 home runs and 113 RBIs in 136 games for Huntsville. Morris just turned 24 last month and is very likely to begin next season at Triple-A Nashville. also reported Friday that the Brewers were interested in right-hander Ryan Dempster, a name that had been previously linked to Milwaukee, considering the team's interest in adding at least one established starter and Dempster's long record of success against the Brewers. The 35-year-old is 16-6 against Milwaukee with a 2.65 ERA in 27 starts and 22 relief appearances. He has a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts and 12 relief stints at Miller Park.

Milwaukee Brewers, Corey Hart