Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 3/1/12
It was a busy offseason for Brewers right fielder Corey Hart who, as he's done in years past, spent most of the winter months working out.He may have done a little too much.Hart bulked up to about 255 pounds, about 20 pounds heavier than he was at the start of last season, so in the weeks before spring training, the 29-year-old took to the trails around his new Arizona home."My wife kinda started poking fun at me, so I had to start doing a lot of cardio," Hart said Thursday. "I dropped almost 20 pounds there. It's tough. I like to be big and brag about how much I can lift. But, other times it doesn't really work with our game plan."The game plan of which Hart speaks will depend greatly on him this season, The Brewers will look to Hart to improve on his 2011 numbers, which included 26 home runs and 63 RBI. Those stats were a slight drop off from his 2010 production (31 home runs, 102 RBI) but can be attributed to a ribcage injury suffered during spring training that kept him out of action for the first few weeks of the season.Even after Hart returned, the two-time All-Star wasn't quite at full strength."I think I pushed myself to come back before I was supposed to, but I already missed spring and the first month of the season, so I didn't really want to miss anymore," Hart said. "But I took a few bumps and bruises because my swing, I couldn't really do what I wanted to do, because it still was there. But it ended up being a good year for me, so I'm just ready to get back and be part of the team again."With slugging first baseman Prince Fielder lost to free agency, the Brewers need a big year from Hart, who will likely lead off or bat fifth behind newly acquired cleanup hitter Aramis Ramirez. Even with the loss of Fielder, the Brewers' lineup is still dangerous."We'll pound," Hart said. "I think we'll be better this year than we were last year offensively. I mean, combined, first and third, I think we were right in the middle of the pack of the league in production when you add 'em together. I think we'll be way more productive when you add those two together. (Rookie first baseman Mat) Gamel's gonna have a much bigger year than people are thinking, and Aramis has always obviously killed us, so I think he'll be good over there."Hart will again patrol right field for the Brewers but could see some time at first base, spelling Gamel. Hart was drafted by the Brewers in 2000 as a first baseman but shifted to third base after the team drafted Fielder and has played almost exclusively in right since coming up to the big leagues.He's not exactly thrilled with the idea of moving back to first but is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team return to the postseason in 2012. Along the same lines, he's willing to hit anywhere in the lineup, too."Yeah, I don't mind it," Hart said. "I told Ron, I'll hit wherever he wants me to hit. I remember last year it was one of those things, I told him, 'Hey, put me up there. We've got to try something.' And it ended up working out. So, I don't know if it's something that's going to be there again, or if I'm going to hit 5 or where ever he wants me to hit. But I'll be out there somewhere. I don't mind."Interviews courtesy of the Milwaukee BrewersFollow Andrew Wagner on Twitter.
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