Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 3/30/12
Cesar Izturis hasn't exactly been spraying the ball all over the field this spring, as his .173 exhibition batting average suggests. Yet, the 32-year-old infielder is spreading his wisdom around the Milwaukee Brewers' locker room, and there's value in that. "I made it to the big leagues when I was 21, and I'm 32 years old (now), you know," Izturis said Friday. "I've played with a lot of players. ... But there's a lot of games left in my career." And we know this much: Izturis' career will include at least a few important moments with the 2012 Brewers. Milwaukee recently announced that Izturis will be part of its Opening Day roster, and the veteran is expected to back up Alex Gonzalez at shortstop. While that .173 Cactus League batting average may alarm some Brewers backers, manager Ron Roenicke knows Izturis can be relied upon to do the little things, like playing solid defense, bunting and moving runners over. "I think that sometimes, if you just look at an average, you don't really get what's going on with the player," Roenicke said. "It's a little misleading. "He's getting better," Roenicke added. "He has plenty of arm strength, and he's got great hands." Izturis, who can also play second base and third base, will be playing for his eighth major league team, following tours of duty with Toronto (2001), the Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-06), the Chicago Cubs (2006-07), Pittsburgh (2007), St. Louis (2008) and Baltimore (2009-11). He's a career .255 hitter with 109 career stolen bases. Last year, Izturis was limited to 18 games with the Orioles due to elbow and groin injuries. He insists he's "100 percent" healthy these days, though. Now, the native Venezuelan simply wants to help the Brewers -- last year's NL Central champions -- take the next step in the postseason. "The bottom-line is, make it to the World Series," Izturis said. "Last year was a big step. We just have to finish this year." Hart update: Two-time All-Star Corey Hart continues to be closely monitored by Roenicke and the Brewers' coaches as he comes back from knee surgery. Hart has played in minor league games this week, and the knee has responded well to the playing time. "I think, by Sunday, we should have a lot better idea on how we want to proceed," Roenicke said, in reference to Hart's rehab. "He's gonna have to be really good Sunday for us to put him in games here (on) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday." Hart is expected to play in exhibition games through the weekend. "But we're trying to keep his workload down," Roenicke explained. "We've cut down on the (rehabbing with trainers) to allow him the workload to be able to play in the game and not ... have that swelling stay in the knee." Hart, 30, hit .285 with 26 home runs in 2011 and will be counted on to play right field and some first base this season. The Milwaukee Brewers provided interviews for this report.
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