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01/16/09 10:43 AM EST

Brewers' pursuit of Dunn is done

Team not interested in trading Hart to open spot for slugger

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers showed some interest in free-agent slugger Adam Dunn during the Winter Meetings, but by Christmas there was no longer a match, general manager Doug Melvin said.

Dunn's name was linked to the Brewers just before the holiday break, and it made some sense since Milwaukee has been in the market for left-handed bats. Melvin said he indeed showed some interest in the left-handed slugger, but that was when Milwaukee was also in talks with New York about a trade involving Mike Cameron.

The proposed deal with the Yankees has since fizzled. Melvin said he intends to go to Spring Training with Cameron manning center field for Milwaukee.

"We talked about [Dunn] when there was a possibility of moving Cameron," Melvin said. "We looked to see if there was a possibility of adding a left-handed hitter."

But with Cameron and his $10 million salary in the fold, and Ryan Braun a franchise cornerstone in left field, the only way for the Brewers to fit a hitter like Dunn into the outfield would be trading right fielder Corey Hart. Melvin is not willing to do so.

Dunn could also play first base, but if the Brewers were to trade Prince Fielder, who is also a left-handed hitter, they would be just as right-handed as they were before.

"I like our outfield," Melvin said. "We've got two All-Stars in the outfield [in Braun and Hart] and a veteran defensive guy [in Cameron] who hits home runs in center. I wish there was some left-handedness to it, but it's not a big deal when your outfielders are capable of hitting 80-85 home runs and stealing 60 bases. There's not many outfields that will give you 80 home runs and 60 stolen bases."

Hot Stove

He added: "We got to where we are today because of our young players. I'm not looking to change anything with that unless there is some good, young pitching available in a trade. Teams hold on to young players and good pitching."

The Brewers believe Hart, 26, is one of those good, young players, and he has compiled two consecutive seasons of at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. But he also followed an All-Star first half of 2008 (Hart won the fan vote that decided the final spot on the National League squad) by hitting .239 with a .263 on-base percentage after the break. From Sept. 7 through the end of the regular season, Hart hit .132 with a .159 on-base mark.

Hart certainly was not the only Brewers hitter who struggled down the stretch, but after he was 3-for-13 (.231) in the NL Division Series against the eventual World Champion Phillies, he was asked about his year.

"You guys have to do your job, to pick and make us mad," Hart said of reporters, only half joking. "But I want to do better than I did the last month. At the same time, you just try to learn from the pressure. All year is cake until you get to that last month.

"I need to figure it out," Hart said. "The rest of the guys need to figure it out, too, how to step up. The pitching carried us to the playoffs, and we [the hitters] weren't able to get it going."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.