Hart says he would take discount to stay

Much more to come on Corey Hart’s recovery from double knee surgery, but here’s the part Brewers fans will care about the most.

Hart, a free agent to be, made very clear he’d like to re-sign with the only franchise he’s known in a professional career that began in 2000.

“We’ve not really had any discussions, but I’ve told them numerous times that obviously I’ll be healthy and I’d like to stay a Brewer and help this team out,” Hart said this morning. “They have a lot of good young players, but this team needs a veteran presence and I’d like to be one of those guys. I’ve told them, and I think they want me. I just don’t know where that’s at. They’ve hinted, but it’s early, and coming out of knee surgery, I’m sure they want to see me run first before they actually talk to me.”

Hart has an appointment next week with his knee surgeon, during which he expects to get clearance to begin running. He wants to be back to 100 percent before the Winter Meetings so he can work out for teams or send them video of him hitting, running and fielding.

He earned $10 million in 2013, the final season of a three-year contract. What would it take to bring Hart back?

“I’ve told them I would be very generous to stay here,” he said. “I wouldn’t sit there and ask for anything that is outlandish. I would take a discount to stay here because I think I owe it to them to stay here and be a cheaper player, because — nobody wants to play for free — but I’ve basically sat there and watched all season. I think I owe it to them and the fans to come back. That’s kind of what we’re hoping for, but at the same time, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

He added; “If it’s up to me, I would stay here. I think we’re leaving it up to them if it’s something they want.”

Hart dropped by this week to visit teammates. He conceded the notion that if the Brewers go in a different direction at first base, this could be his final visit to the home clubhouse.

“At the same time, I’m pretty optimistic I’ll be back,” Hart said. “That’s what we’re hoping for. If i’m, not, I’ll see these guys again, but at the same time, I’m kind of going forward as I’ll be healthy and I’ll be back.”

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