Brewers slugger Hart inches closer to return

Brewers slugger Hart inches closer to return

Published Mar. 29, 2012 8:47 p.m. ET

It appears Corey Hart's patience is paying dividends.

The Brewers' right fielder returned to exhibition action at mid-week, a little more than three weeks after undergoing surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. Manager Ron Roenicke likes what he saw out of the 30-year-old Hart, who will be counted on to provide the Brewers' lineup with pop this season.

Playing Wednesday in a Triple-A contest, Hart went 2-for-4, with a single and a double.

"He had four at-bats," Roenicke noted Thursday. Hart was "a little tentative running the bases the first time, and then the second time he was pretty good."


Hart appears on track to join the Brewers' roster by at least the third series of the regular season, in Atlanta. The right fielder is likely to play some in the outfield Friday, in another minor-league contest.

Roenicke, however, hesitated to specify a timetable for Hart's return to the Milwaukee lineup.

"We have him scheduled to get some work in the outfield (Friday) -- maybe three innings or so," Roenicke said of his veteran slugger.

"We're going to look at what he does, really, the last couple days -- which will be Saturday and Sunday," the manager continued, in reference to the dwindling spring-training schedule. "And we'll see where he is at that point. And, if he's close enough, maybe we'll put him in one of our games. ... But (that's) taking a chance; I don't know if we're going to want to do that."

Hart, a 6-foot-6, 235-pounder who has hit 124 total home runs with the Brewers since 2004, hit .285 last season to go along with 26 longballs.

The veteran recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his surgically repaired knee feels solid.

"It's feeling pretty good," Hart said. "I've been doing everything. When I run, there's some soreness, but you expect that."

The Milwaukee Brewers provided interviews for this report.