The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 30, 2013

Reds expected to repeat in NL Central

(Continued)

PITTSBURGH — Milwaukee Brewers

2012: 83-79, third place.

Manager: Ron Roenicke (third season).

He’s here: RHP Kyle Lohse, LHP Mike Gonzalez, LHP Tom Gorzelanny, RHP Burke Badenhop, INF Yuniesky Betancourt.

He’s outta here: RHP Shaun Marcum, OF Nyjer Morgan, RHP Francisco Rodriguez, LHP Manny Parra, 1B Travis Ishikawa, RHP Kameron Loe, RHP Jose Veras, RHP Fautino De Los Santos.

Projected lineup: RF Norichika Aoki (.288, 10 HRs, 50 RBI, 30 SBs), 2B Rickie Weeks (.230, 21, 63), LF Ryan Braun (.319, 41, 112), 3B Aramis Ramirez (.300, 27, 105), 1B Corey Hart (.270, 30, 83), C Jonathan Lucroy (.320, 12, 58), CF Carlos Gomez (.260, 19, 51), SS Jean Segura (.264, 0, 14 in 44 games with Brewers).

Rotation: RH Yovani Gallardo (16-9, 3.66 ERA), RH Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86, 211 IP with Cardinals), RH Marco Estrada (3-10, 5.69), RH Mike Fiers (9-10, 3.79), LH Chris Narveson (1-1, 7.00 in 2 starts) or RH Wily Peralta (2-1, 2.48 in 6 games, 5 starts).

Hot spots: Hart will begin the season on the disabled list after having surgery in late January to repair cartilage damage in his right knee. Hart is a quick healer – he returned far faster than expected last offseason when he had surgery on the same knee for a torn meniscus – but he’s still expected to be out until sometime in May. That means Alex Gonzalez will likely move over to first base, and Segura will no longer have to look over his shoulder at Gonzalez while trying to nail down the shortstop position.

Outlook: Milwaukee traded pitcher Zack Greinke last summer but quietly made up for it by having one of the most productive offenses in the majors – and that lineup returns almost entirely intact. Braun has put an offseason filled with questions about his connection to PEDs in his rearview mirror, and insists that his focus is solely on the upcoming season. If he can put together another MVP-caliber season, Gallardo and Lohse can anchor the pitching staff and Segura can live up to expectations in the everyday lineup, the Brewers could be in position to compete in the NL Central.

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