According to general manager Doug Melvin, Hart might not return from his knee surgery until after the All-Star break (via JSOnline). Hart was eligible to come off of the 60-day disabled list at the end of May, and many were left wondering how his rehab was going since there was no imminent sign of his return.
Clearly, it's not going very well.
The Brewers expected Hart to be back by June at the very latest when he underwent surgery back in January. Hart even expressed hope that he would be able to return sometime in May, especially considering how he claimed to be ahead of schedule back in February, not to mention his speedy recovery from knee surgery in 2012.
This unexpected news is bad on a couple of fronts. Hart is due to be a free agent at season's end, and not being able to play for at least half of the season diminishes his value on the open market. And for a team building for the future, this hurts the Brewers as well as Hart was a top candidate to be moved near the trade deadline.
Now, Milwaukee surely won't receive the offers it feels it deserves for Hart.
Hart has a small window to prove he's healthy and able to produce assuming he can return immediately following the All-Star break, which takes place July 15-18. The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31.
Typically, the Brewers would want to take a cautious approach with a player of Hart's caliber, but this is an interesting scenario. The season is all but a lost cause in terms of reaching the playoffs so in that sense, there is no reason to rush Hart back, but as someone Milwaukee would certainly like to try and move, it is watching Hart's rate of return diminish.
As for Milwaukee's current first base situation, it's been a platoon between newly acquired Juan Francisco and Yuniesky Betancourt. This hasn't been particularly enjoyable to watch from the Brewers' standpoint.
Hunter Morris is waiting in the wings, but Brewer fans shouldn't expect to see the Triple-A Nashville standout until September. The 24-year-old has a .248/.322/.505 split to go along with 13 HRs and 33 RBIs this season.
In other words, it will likely be another month of suffering at the first base position for Milwaukee, both on the field and in the front office.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_.
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