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Notes: Hardy glad arbitration avoided

Notes: Hardy glad arbitration avoided

PHOENIX -- Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy expected to be wearing a suit in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday. He was happy to be in uniform at Maryvale Baseball Park instead.

Hardy and the Brewers faced an arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday, and for much of last week it appeared that's where the sides were headed. After making the National League All-Star team last season while earning $400,000, Hardy was seeking a $3.05 million salary in 2008, while the Brewers offered $2.4 million.

Hardy, his agent Mike Seal and a number of Seal's associates were set to travel after rejecting what the Brewers called a final offer on Feb. 11. But on Friday, the Brewers upped their offer again. Hardy agreed to a $2.65 million salary.

"I thought we were going to a hearing," Hardy said. "We had until 12 o'clock last Monday to say yes or no, and if the answer was no, they would prepare for a hearing. We said no. But they came back again on Friday.

"It wasn't fun. It was brutal, and it was going to get worse sitting through [a hearing], hearing them talk bad about me. I'm glad we got it done."

Arbitration cases are presented to a three-member panel of judges, who listen to the merits of both arguments and then choose one salary or the other.

Silver lining: Right-hander Yovani Gallardo was trying to stay upbeat about his scheduled knee surgery on Tuesday, and is holding out hope that he'll be in the rotation on Opening Day.

"Better to get it out of the way early so it's not an issue during the season," Gallardo said. "I'll start rehabbing right way and hopefully get back into camp."

Gallardo underwent an MRI scan on Saturday that revealed torn cartilage in his left knee. He injured the knee at the end of a bullpen session near his Texas home, saying he landed awkwardly after one delivery. The knee didn't get any better on a 14-hour drive to Phoenix.

If all goes well, Gallardo will be back on the mound in four weeks. Assistant general manager Gord Ash labeled his chances for the opening week of the season "touch and go," but Gallardo is remaining optimistic.

"That has been my goal from the beginning," he said of making the Opening Day roster. "The way I want to look at it is, I'm going to break camp with the team. That's why it's good to have the surgery now. I can still achieve my goal."

It is a disappointing start for Gallardo after a breakthrough 2007. He went 8-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Nashville at the start of the season, then went 9-5 in the Majors with a 3.67 ERA in 20 appearances, 17 of them starts. Gallardo, Ben Sheets and Jeff Suppan came to camp considered locks for the starting rotation.

"I felt great the whole offseason," Gallardo said. "It just stinks that this happens the day before we get going here."

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Better news: Catcher Lou Palmisano underwent an MRI on Monday for what was believed to be an injury similar to Gallardo's. But the scan revealed no tears, and Palmisano instead was diagnosed with a subluxation of the patella tendon. He will be sidelined 5-7 days but won't need surgery, Ash said.

Filling up: The Maryvale clubhouse got a whole lot more crowded on Monday.

None of the Brewers projected positional starters were there on Saturday, the day pitchers and catchers were required to report, but they were all there early Monday. The group included the entire infield of first baseman Prince Fielder, second baseman Rickie Weeks, shortstop Hardy and third baseman Bill Hall, plus left fielder Ryan Braun, center fielder Mike Cameron and right fielder Corey Hart.

Cameron barely made it. He originally was scheduled to arrive from Atlanta early Sunday afternoon, but a series of flight delays meant he did not land in the Valley until early Monday morning. Cameron finally arrived at 4 a.m. MT, then had to wake up at 8 a.m. for his physical at Maryvale Baseball Park.

When Cameron arrived and saw so many hitters already in camp, he decided to take part in the workout.

"I figured I would do it while my adrenaline was still going," he said. "The whole team was here! I even checked my calendar to make sure I had the [report] dates right."

Cameron won't be available on Opening Day because of a suspension but is expected to get the majority of starts in center field. All three of the leading candidates to man that position in April -- Gabe Gross, Tony Gwynn, Jr. and Gabe Kapler -- are also in camp already.

Position players are not required to report until Friday. Veteran infielder Craig Counsell and Minor League infielders Ozzie Chavez and Alcides Escobar have yet to arrive. The team is waiting for paperwork from the U.S. government for Chavez and Escobar.

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

{"content":["spring_training" ] }
{"content":["spring_training" ] }