It looks like for the second consecutive season, the Milwaukee Brewers will have a new starting first baseman on Opening Day.
UPDATE: Friday, Jan. 25 at 2 p.m ET by Michael Cahill
Just to clear up any confusion that might exist about the timetable for Corey Hart's return to the field, Tom Haudricourt of jsonline.com is reporting that the Brewers just released a statement following Hart's surgery this morning.
From Haudricourts report:
The Brewers just announced that Corey Hart's knee surgery has been completed and his recovery time is expected to be four months. That would take him into late May, meaning Hart is going to miss most of the first two months of the 2013 season.
--End of Update--
UPDATE: Friday, Jan. 25 at 1:30 p.m ET by Michael Cahill
Danny Knobler of CBS Sports has the latest update on Corey Hart's status.
--End of Update--
UPDATE: Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 12:15 p.n. ET by Adam Wells
Hart is not ready to follow the doctor's orders quite yet. At least not his original doctor. The Brewers have announced (via MLB on Twitter) that Hart is going to seek a second opinion on his knee.
#Brewers announce 1B Corey Hart will not undergo scheduled knee surgery today, will get second opinion from Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, CO— MLB (@MLB) January 22, 2013
Usually when players try to find a second opinion on an injury, they are simply delaying the process of healing. We don't know what Hart's MRI looks like, so it is hard to say whether he is just delaying the inevitable.
The Brewers need all of their offensive weapons healthy and ready to play as soon as possible, because their pitching staff has taken some huge hits in the last year.
---END OF UPDATE---
According to the Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt, Brewers' projected starting first baseman Corey Hart will undergo knee surgery and will miss at least the first six weeks of the 2013 regular season:
Raasch will perform surgery Tuesday in Milwaukee to repair that defect, knocking Hart out of action for three to four months from the time of the procedure. Hart's rehabilitation will include bearing no weight on the knee for six weeks or so, taking him into early March. At that point, he is expected to need six to eight weeks to get ready to play.
Per Haudricourt, Hart's problems with his right knee may stem back all the way to the spring of 2012. The Brewers slugger had surgery before last season to repair a knee injury and started to once again see swelling in the knee during offseason training.
Though Hart's balky knee dates back to before last season, he certainly showed no signs of it during a strong 2012 campaign. Given the responsibility of replacing Prince Fielder midway through the 2012 season, who left for the Detroit Tigers in free agency, the 30-year-old Hart performed admirably in his newfound first baseman role.
He finished the season with a .270 batting average and .334 on-base percentage while hitting 30 home runs and driving in 83 runs. Those statistics placed Hart in the top three on the team in both of the power-hitting categories, which helped Milwaukee to lead the National League in runs despite losing Fielder.
The Brewers wound up missing the playoffs with that league-leading run total, but many expected them to compete for the NL Central crown in 2013. However, with Hart out for at least the season's first six weeks, Milwaukee will have to move quickly to replicate his production in the short term.
Either way, one thing is certain: The Brewers' road to postseason glory just got a whole lot tougher.