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Fashion Statement

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Coach Holtz thinks that the team looked very good in spring practice and that with seven returning starters on offense and a new receiver from Minnesota, the outlook for the '94 season is 10, maybe even 11 victories....

Sorry, the Brewers' new insignia had us confused. Gone is the old ball-in-glove, small-m-over-small-b emblem that writer Roy Blount Jr. once likened to the bottom of a dog's paw. Now a capital M is branded on top of a capital B, much in the fashion of the ND on the cap Lou Holtz wears when he's roaming the Notre Dame sideline in the fall.

This being the 25th year of the franchise, the Milwaukee front office decided a fresh logo was in order. Besides, since the team finished 13th in the league in fielding last year, the ball-in-glove was no longer appropriate. So the Brewers went to the fashion-and-design department of Major League Baseball, and voilà. Cheer, cheer for old Motre Bame.

"I like 'em," says Brewer manager Phil Garner of the new uniforms. "As the son of a Baptist minister, though, I am not entirely comfortable being so closely associated with a Catholic university." (ND alumni, please note: Garner smiled when he said that.) One drawback of the new uniforms is that from a distance, the 6's, 8's and 9's all look alike. In other words, fans may not be able to tell the players even with a scorecard.

In the first few weeks of spring games, a lot of Brewer players were notably absent from the scorecard; new second baseman Jody Reed, shortstop Pat Listach, leftfielder Greg Vaughn, rightfielder B.J. Surhoff and third baseman Kevin Seitzer all missed playing time due to various injuries. And last year's closer, Doug Henry, had to be shut down because of shoulder tendinitis (he will start the season on the DL), which not only left the door open for somebody else but also answered the question "Whatever happened to Jesse Orosco?"

Two new faces on the Brewers are Reed, the former Dodger who parlayed his refusal of a three-year, $7.8 million offer from L.A. into a one-year, $350,000 deal with Milwaukee, and former Twin Brian Harper, a pure hitter though somewhat of an impure catcher. Harper should adequately till Paul Molitor's old DH spot—a role for Robin Yount if he hadn't retired two weeks before camp opened—and back up Australian backstop Dave Nilsson, who's beginning to look a lot like Carlton Fisk.

But the best story in camp was an old story, the comeback of former 20-game winner Teddy Higuera, who first blew out his left shoulder in 1991, shortly after signing a four-year, $13 million contract. After three years of on-again, till-again rehab, Higuera was throwing well this spring. If he can keep it up, the Brewers will have a rotation that is surpassed only by the While Sox's in the division: Cal Eldred, Jaime Navarro, Bill Wegman, Ricky Bones and Higuera.

"If anybody deserves to come back, it's Teddy," says Garner. "The guy has been through hell and back the last few years. He could have taken the money and run, but he worked as hard as anyone. He's what the American Dream is all about. You could write a book on the guy. You could do a movie."

You could. Maybe something like Rudy.

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PHOTO

V.J. LOVERO

Newly attired as a Brewer, Harper will serve mostly as a DH.