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Morris gets a start as Brewers play ball

PHOENIX -- The A's asked to employ a designated hitter for Saturday's Cactus League opener at Maryvale Baseball Park and the Brewers happily agreed, using the extra spot to get their first looks at first base prospect Hunter Morris.

Morris, No. 5 on's list of the top 20 Brewers prospects, is a candidate to fill first base while Corey Hart works back from knee surgery. The question is whether the 24-year-old Morris is ready to hit in the Majors, or needs more Minor League at-bats.

"You have both [views]," manager Ron Roenicke said. "That's why we need to see him." On Saturday, he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Hart had right knee surgery Jan. 25 and is aiming to be back with the Brewers before the end of April, but the more conservative estimate has him out until late May. Besides Morris, who would have to be added to the 40-man roster, the Brewers are looking at Taylor Green, Alex Gonzalez and Bobby Crosby to fill in.

Green started at first base on Saturday and Gonzalez, who has played exclusively at shortstop over 15 Major League seasons, could make his first start at first in one of Monday's split-squad games.