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Hart avoids big one

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
March 8, 2012
— Shortly after awakening in the recovery room early Tuesday morning, Corey Hart learned his knee surgery wasn’t really an elective procedure.

It was a necessity.


“(Team physician William Raasch) said if I would have kept playing, I would have blown out within a month and I’d have had to have the big (surgery),” the Milwaukee Brewers rightfielder said Wednesday.


“That would have been three or four months (out of action).”


During the arthroscopic procedure, Raasch discovered what Hart termed three “big” cartilage tears as well as two pieces of cartilage that already had broken off. Still, it was considered the lesser of two possible surgeries, keeping intact hopes that Hart could return to action in 3-4 weeks.


“It was torn almost all the way,” Hart said of the knee cartilage. “But they could deal with it.


“It wasn’t bad enough to have to do the big surgery but there was a lot more than they thought. I saw the photos. It was a blessing, actually, (to do the surgery now).”


Hart said the surgery took longer than anticipated because of the multiple tears, and Hart’s wife Kristina “started panicking” in the waiting room.


“They said it should be about 30 minutes,” he said. “They were in there for over an hour. They had said ‘if we’re in there over an hour, it’s going to be the bad (surgery).’ “


Hart said he’ll take it easy for a couple of days before beginning his rehab program.


“I’m sure within a couple of weeks I’ll be doing most everything,” he said.


Hart still has hopes that he won’t miss any of the regular season. If he can play games in the final week of camp, he can go to the minor-league side and get as many at-bats as needed.


Otherwise, the Brewers could backdate his disabled list time and he’d have to miss at least the first week of the season.


“The only thing that wouldn’t be ready is my timing (at the plate),” he said. “It depends on how many at-bats I get. If I get a full week of games over there (minor-league side), that’s kind of what I’m hoping. We’ll see how it works.


“I had 15 at-bats last year before I came back (from an oblique injury). If I could sneak in 30-35 at-bats, that would be good.”


Manager Ron Roenicke made it clear that Hart won’t be rushed back into action before he’s ready.


“I’ll talk to him about that,” said Roenicke. “It’s hard to put a flat number on when he’s coming back. We’ll see. He needs more (at-bats) than what we gave him last year. Maybe he locks in quicker. It’s all when he’s ready to go and productive, coming in and helping us.”


Inauspicious start

Unlike most players who come to big-league camp on a minor-league contract, Cesar Izturis appears to be a shoo-in to make the opening-day roster because he’s the Brewers’ lone viable alternative as a backup shortstop.


He earned a Gold Glove in 2004 with the Los Angeles Dodgers for his superlative defensive play. But in three games so far with Milwaukee, Izturis has committed three errors, including two on Tuesday.


“He wasn’t very happy about what happened yesterday and the day before,” Roenicke said. “Even though you’re a veteran player and you’ve been an outstanding defensive player, you still go through little things where you need to stay confident. It’s just like the great hitter going through a little offensive slump.”


Most of Izturis’ troubles thus far has come at second base. His natural position is shortstop, but he’ll also be expected to provide depth everywhere but first base in the infield.


He played only 18 games last season with the Baltimore Orioles after undergoing right-elbow surgery.


Making an impression

Roenicke liked the way right-hander Taylor Jungmann threw the ball over his two innings in a 10-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox, despite two walks in his second frame. Jungmann was one of the Brewers’ two first-round picks in 2011.


“He has great composure,” said Roenicke. “He had a 3-0 count and made two perfect pitches and tried to make three perfect pitches (on one of the walks). He’s got a lot of movement. He can just go over the plate and keep it down, and let them get themselves out. But I really like what I see from him.


“He has outstanding poise and a nice, solid delivery. This guy is going to be good.”


Back in the saddle

Left-hander Manny Parra was interested to see how he would feel after his first exhibition outing of the spring on Tuesday. He pitched a scoreless inning against Oakland, with one hit and one walk, as he continues his comeback from elbow surgery.


“It felt good to face big-league hitters in a Brewers uniform,” he said. “I had a lot of anxiousness. Not so much nervousness, but the fourth inning couldn’t come quick enough. When you know what inning you’ve got, it’s hard to be patient.”


“I calmed myself down; focused on my breathing. The walk kind of bothered me a little bit but I didn’t let it get to me. So, I was happy. My arm feels good today; that’s a good sign.”



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