Corey Hart Proves He is Star Material, Sometimes

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Corey Hart

Perhaps he was trying to prove to the Milwaukee Brewers organization that his dismal start to the season has no bearing on his talent.  Maybe he was putting on a show for other clubs interested in acquiring him.  Either way, Corey Hart was on a mission during the Home Run Derby Tuesday night.

“Anytime you make the [All Star] team it’s good, but to basically just point a finger at the Brewers and say ‘I told you so’ would be more gratifying than anything,” said Hart, in an interview late last month.

Corey Hart got just that, smacking 13 out of the Angels Stadium in the Home Run Derby’s first round. But then he recorded a goose egg in the second round; zero homers across the allotted 10 outs. So do the Milwaukee Brewers keep the hot hitter or trade him before the Hart stops beating?

By: Melissa S. Wollering

Corey Hart

After Brewers’ Prince Fielder won the 2009 Home Run Derby, fans considered Hart to be a long-shot for the privilege until he topped the National League in long balls in mid-June.

On Tuesday evening, Hart went yard 13 times, taking the lead early on.  Then he was forced to wait an hour and a half to bat in the second round.  By that time, he was unable to muster a single homer within the allotted ten outs, perhaps paralleling his inability to stay hot for long from season to season.

Hart joins Ryan Braun in the 2010 All Star game as an outfield starter as a result of Jason Heyward’s recent injury. Yovani Gallardo was also named to the team, but will sit out after suffering an oblique strain in the last game of the Cardinals series July 5. The Brewers have had at least three players on the All-Star roster in each of the last four years.  However, the Milwaukee Brewers were playing baseball above the .500 mark during all four seasons.

Playing nearly ten games below .500 prior to the break, Hart acknowledges there is a drastic difference in this year’s winning percentage compared to years past. Still, he thinks the caliber of talent on the team is as quality as ever.

“Obviously Braun and…you’ve got Yovani [Gallardo], who is I would say is one of the best pitchers in baseball,” said Hart.

The early season slump Hart experienced may still be burning a hole in the minds of some fans, but the right-fielder says his work since April has help him prove himself to the Brewers organization.

“As down as I was with the fans and this organization, is as determined as I was to get out of that slump,” said Hart.

Hart’s wife has also played a huge role in the rightfielder’s return-to-good, telling him to celebrate when appropriate and use the excitement as fuel for more fire at the plate.

“My wife is my biggest supporter, so it’s nice to have her. She challenges me and she pushes me but she never lets me get down on myself. Dale [Sveum] and Ed [Sedar] have been two of my biggest supporters this season, too. Those guys have been on me and fighting from day one to try to get me to play how I feel I should play, and play how they feel I should play.”

Corey Hart was not on the All Star ballot this year because he was not a starter on April 5. Macha had intended to create a platoon-of-sorts with Hart and Jim Edmonds. Jim Edmonds actually started in right field on Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies.

“Coming from where I was [earlier this season] to being able to show the Brewers that I’m worthy of an All-Star vote, I think that’s more important to me than making it,” says Hart.  “Personally, you want to make it just for that reason, actually.”

As for whether his recent hitting success makes him a trading block fodder, Hart says there are no guarantees that the team you play with before the July 31 deadline will be the same afterward.

“We know that guys could be traded away or things could change and we want to stay together, we like playing together,” says Hart. “It’s nice to have right now where they can see we can change and we can turn it around.  We have a good club, it’s just time to put it together. It’s a good time to do it now.”

Maybe it is also time for the Milwaukee Brewers organization to see what it can acquire in exchange for Hart. Hart tends to sizzle leading up the All Star break, fade into the summer’s end and drop off each September. Now might be THE time to deal him. Just don’t tell us we’re the ones without heart for saying so.

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