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MILWAUKEE — With only 19 games left, outfielder Todd Dunn won't have much time to make an impression on the Milwaukee Brewers.

He won't have to. Dunn, who joined the team Saturday after finishing his season with Class AA El Paso, already has impressed manager Phil Garner.

Dunn led the Texas League with a .340 batting average. He hit 19 home runs and had 78 RBIs for the Diablos, who were eliminated from the Texas League playoffs Wednesday. He also had a .412 on-base percentage.

"He's had a great year," Garner said. "He was all-everything."

Garner is especially impressed with the way the 26-year-old Dunn has adjusted to hitting the breaking ball. Dunn struck out 84 times in 359 at-bats. He's already considered one of the top outfield prospects because of his defensive abilities and speed.

"This year, he's shown tremendous improvement in his ability to hit the breaking ball and to hit with two strikes," Garner said.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Dunn is the last of the late-season callups by the Brewers, who already had retooled their outfield via trades in the last month, adding Marc Newfield, Gerald Williams and Jeromy Burnitz.

With Chuckie Carr's return from reconstructive knee surgery uncertain — at least the timing of it — Dunn could be in the mix next spring.

"If he stays right where he is, he could make the jump next year," Garner said.

"I would hope I get some sort of chance," Dunn said. "I'd like to get some playing time to show them what I can do."

NO REGRETS:

Darryl Hamilton is enjoying life in first place with the Texas Rangers.

Hamilton, who signed with the Rangers as a free agent last December after six-plus seasons with the Brewers, left Milwaukee on rather unpleasant terms.

Angered by his reduced playing time late in the 1995 season — which Hamilton felt was an attempt by the Brewers to prevent him from reaching his contract incentives — Hamilton filed a grievance with the players' union after the season. The grievance was settled — Hamilton received a cash settlement — and Hamilton was granted his free agency Nov. 1.

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"I can honestly say the whole year's been great," said Hamilton, the Rangers' starting center fielder and leadoff batter. "To go over to another organization and see how they operate has been good.

"And the team's been playing well. We've got a good bunch of guys and we're having fun together. It's clear the organization wants us to win."

Hamilton blasted the Brewers' organization during spring training, saying they weren't committed to building a winner. He's since softened his stance.

"I'm not bitter," said Hamilton, who is batting .299 with four home runs and 44 RBIs and has 13 stolen bases. "It really doesn't matter anymore. I learned a lot during that time. I learned a lot about a lot of people. I learned it's all just a business and there's no such thing as loyalty."

Hamilton is impressed with the moves the Brewers have made in the last month.

"I think they're going in the right direction, by going out and getting a lot of promising young players," he said. "It was a situation where Greg (Vaughn) wasn't coming back anyway, so they did the right thing.

"They're building a good young ballclub in the hopes of being able to compete in a couple of years."

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