Corey Hart to have knee surgery
Corey Hart has a meniscus tear in his right knee that will require surgery and will be out 3-4 weeks. That covers most of Spring Training and it would seem that he will start the season on the Disabled List.
This is the second straight season that Hart will miss most of Spring Training and likely start the season on the DL. Last season a rib cage sprain sidelined him.
Though the recovery time from the surgery doesn't take Hart into Opening Day, missing all those ST at-bats will mean he'll need a rehab stint to get into baseball shape.
Apparently Hart has had meniscus issues in the past, but that only involved some minor pain. Major swelling sent him to get an MRI today, which revealed the tear.
The loss of Hart heading into the season means the Brewers will have to find a RF, a 5-hole hitter and a back-up first baseman.
I would assume off-season acquisition Norichika Aoki will be the RF if Hart can't start on Opening Day, though one of the Nyjer Morgan/Carlos Gomez tandem could also get a chance.
The hitting lineup will prove more difficult. Braun is third and Ramirez has replaced Fielder in the 4-hole. Hart was placed in the fifth spot to protect Braun and Ramirez. A likely prospect will be Gamel, but he has yet to prove he can hit consistantly in the major leagues. It will depend on his regular at-bats in Spring Training and how well he adjusts.
At this moment, Gamel is the only person on the 40-man roster with first-base experience. Without Hart, there is no one on the roster to backup Gamel. You'd want someone on your bench in case of injury, but it seems that with so many questions swirling about Gamel, it seems we're even more concerned about not having someone to step into that role. With Hart the team was planning to have him take reps at first base through Spring Training. Now he won't be able to do that. That leaves the Brewers with a worrisome situation.
Mike Rivera, who was likely penned in to be the starting catcher in Nashville, has spent time at first base, but he's not even on the 40-man roster, so that's probably a whole different conversation.