The Brewers were going to have a hard enough time repeating last year’s offensive success even with everyone healthy. Now, they’ll have to do it with Corey Hart missing the first month of the season.
The Brewers announced today that Hart (once again) needs surgery on his right knee to repair a “defect” on the joint and a slight meniscus tear. Hart had surgery on the knee last spring to repair cartilage damage suffered when he reportedly slipped running on concrete in his cleats, on his way to Ryan Braun’s return press conference.
Tom Haudricourt says that Hart’s recovery time will be three to four months, with Hart unable to put weight on the knee for the first six weeks. Haudricourt says Hart should be expected to miss “at least” the first six weeks of the season — that would put his return somewhere in late May, assuming a rehab assignment in the minors to get him some at-bats against live pitching.
Hart hit .270/.334/.507 last season, topping 30 home runs for the second time in three years and eventually taking over at first base after Mat Gamel tore his ACL on May 1st. Now it will likely be Gamel taking his spot back following Hart’s knee injury. Adam McCalvy (via MLB.com colleague Cash Kruth) says that Gamel is already at 100%.
While the timing of the injury is bad for the Brewers, it could be even worse for Hart, a free agent at the end of the season. This is the second surgery on the same knee in about a year, he’s entering his age 31 season, and guys who are 6’6″ don’t tend to age well. The fact that he’s missed 109 games over the past four years before this injury isn’t going to help his free agent value, either. Missing the first month-plus isn’t going to help his trade value for the Brewers, either, if they were to fall out of contention early.