Hart to have season-ending surgery on left knee
First baseman was injured while rehabbing from surgery on right knee
PITTSBURGH -- Still rehabbing from right knee surgery in January, first baseman Corey Hart now needs surgery on the other knee, a procedure that will end his season and, in all likelihood, his long tenure with the Brewers.
Hart, 31 and a free agent at season's end, injured his left knee during workouts aimed at building strength in his right knee, the subject of surgery in late January to repair a depression in that joint. His comeback was already going much slower than Hart had hoped when he began feeling pain in the other knee.
He traveled to Los Angeles this week for a second opinion from Dodgers team physician Neal ElAttrache, who will perform surgery on July 26 to repair a defect in Hart's left knee very similar to the one that required a fix to the other knee in January.
"It's the exact same injury, from my understanding," Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke announced the development when he met with reporters on Friday afternoon in rainy Pittsburgh.
"I didn't talk to [Hart]," Roenicke said. "This is kind of second hand on what he's going to do; I'll have more information when I talk to him."
Hart, drafted by the Brewers as a first baseman in 2000, moved from right field back to his original position last season and delivered 30 home runs and 83 RBIs in 149 games. He expressed interest in a contract extension, but those talks never progressed, and they were shelved entirely when Hart developed right knee pain during offseason workouts.
Hart is nearing the end of a three-year contract and will be a free agent in October. The Brewers have a first baseman in waiting in Hunter Morris, who was the Double-A Southern League's MVP last season and entered Friday with 14 home runs in 71 games for Triple-A Nashville.
Friday's news also hurt the Brewers on the Trade Deadline front. With Morris moving toward the Majors, the last-place Brewers were expected to shop Hart to clubs looking for a right-handed bat. Now, that will not happen, and the Brewers are unlikely to receive Draft compensation should Hart depart in free agency because doing so would require the team extending him a qualifying offer. Given his health status, Hart probably would accept such an offer.
"I don't think anyone is in position to comment about that yet," Ash said.
Hart is the third Brewers first baseman to be lost for the season. Mat Gamel re-tore his ACL in Spring Training and is missing the second straight season, and Taylor Green had season-ending hip surgery.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.