Hart won’t rule out Opening Day

Corey Hart will undergo surgery Tuesday in suburban Phoenix to repair torn cartilage in his right knee, a procedure that will leave the Brewers right fielder only the narrowest of margins to be ready for Opening Day.

The Brewers expect Hart to be sidelined 3-4 weeks. Opening Day is April 6 in St. Louis, and somewhere in-between, Hart would have to see some live pitching.

Still, an optimistic Hart said, “it’s not far-fetched to be back that soon.”

He also does not want to risk a setback that could cost him 3-4 months instead of that number of weeks, so an equally likely scenario is that Hart rehabs conservatively, then misses a modest number of regular season games while honing his swing on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment. That, Hart said, would not be the worst thing.

He will miss Spring Training for the second straight season. Last year, Hart badly strained a rib-cage muscle during an early camp throwing drill and did not debut until April 26.

“I’d rather get this out of the way now and not have to worry about it,” Hart said. “If I miss a week or two weeks of games, that’s not a big thing. I’ll be back soon.”

Dr. Evan Lederman and Dr. William Raasch will collaborate on Hart’s surgery at Arrowhead Hospital in Glendale, Ariz. Hart expects to be back in Brewers camp on Wednesday to begin his rehabilitation, and has been led to believe the early days of that process will be the most important. Once swelling in the knee subsides, he can accelerate his workouts.

For more on Hart, and what his outfield mates had to say about his injury, check out Brewers.com later tonight.

Nyjer Morgan is getting the first crack at replacing Hart in right field. Here’s the lineup for tonight’s 8:35 p.m. CT game against the Giants, which will be televised by MLB Network and webcast via MLB.com.

Rickie Weeks DH
Nyjer Morgan RF
Carlos Gomez CF
Alex Gonzalez SS
Mat Gamel 1B
George Kottaras C
Taylor Green 3B
Norichika Aoki LF
Cesar Izturis 2B

Chris Narveson is scheduled to start, and Wili Peralta and Jose Veras are among those slated to work in relief.

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