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Prince Fielder would consider Cubs in free agency

Prince Fielder’s mighty swing resulted first-inning lineout. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Prince Fielder’s mighty swing resulted in a first-inning lineout. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 3, 2011 9:34PM

Despite a rivalry with the Cubs that has at times seemed personal, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder said Tuesday he hasn’t ruled out the Cubs as a possible destination if he reaches free agency this fall.

Not that the Cubs will commit the kind of big-money, multiyear offer that it would take to land one of the top free agents of the upcoming class. A source with first-hand knowledge of the Ricketts family’s purchase deal and debt structure told the Sun-Times recently that it involves enough annual burden to all but preclude that kind of free-agent deal for two or three years.

But if the Rickettses opt not to cut the big-league payroll for a third straight winter — as they’re expected to do — the Cubs might find a willing listener in what could be the best left-handed bat available, at the position the Cubs will have the most need.

And he’s a .319 hitter with 11 homers, 33 RBI and a 1.056 OPS in 43 career games at Wrigley Field.

Fielder, 27, said he’s not looking at free agency yet.

“Not right now,’’ he said, “because I play for the Brewers, and that would be selfish of me to think about next year, because I’m signed here, and I have a job to do here.’’

But despite a rivalry that has resulted in him being hit by pitches more times (10) than against any other team, Fielder said he has no problems with the Cubs that would prevent him from listening to an offer.

“I don’t have any problems with any team,’’ Fielder said. ‘‘But just right now I’m a Brewer still.’’

Oh, and one more thing: Don’t waste your time this week looking for a pregame hug between Fielder and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. “Never met him,’’ Fielder said.

Colvin out again

The future of the Cubs’ outfield was put on hold again as last year’s 20-homer rookie, Tyler Colvin, was demoted to Class AAA Iowa for the second time this season.

The move made room for outfielder Reed Johnson, who was activated from the disabled list (back) — after spending much of the afternoon awaiting medical clearance from Major League Baseball after getting hit in the helmet by a pitch Sunday during a rehab game.

Colvin was hitting just .105 in 95 at-bats for the Cubs — a rough start that included an 0-for-34 skid that overlapped both big-league stints.

Dinged Darwin

Second baseman Darwin Barney sat out Tuesday after bruising his knee during Monday’s headfirst slide into home. He said he hoped to be well enough to return to the lineup tonight.

Roster move II

Right-hander Chris Carpenter, who was converted from starter to reliever since last year, was called up from Class AA Tennessee Tuesday to join the Cubs’ bullpen — with struggling righty Casey Coleman sent back to Iowa.

“You hear about people getting called up, and it’s just a great feeling to have it finally be you and to share it with your teammates and coaches,’’ said Carpenter, who was 3-2 with a 5.63 ERA in 23 appearances between Class AAA and Class AA this year.

No 3K day

With the New York Yankees putting Derek Jeter on the disabled list Tuesday for a calf injury, his chase for the 3,000 hit milestone skips Wrigley Field this weekend.

Jeter could have been only the second player to get his 3,000th hit at Wrigley, joining St. Louis legend Stan Musial, who reached the milestone on May 13, 1958.

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