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Brewers’ Corey Hart Out 3-4 Months

Since fielding one of the most powerful lineups in the major leagues over the last few seasons, the Milwaukee Brewers always enter spring training with high expectations, but this year they’ll be starting the regular season without one of their biggest bats.

According to ESPN.com, first baseman and two-time All-Star Corey Hart will miss three to four months with an injured right knee. He underwent surgery on the knee to repair some damaged cartilage last spring and he will need surgery again after an MRI revealed a torn meniscus and other ligament damage. The surgery will take place on Tuesday, but Hart will not be able to put any weight on the knee for six weeks afterward, which will set his expected return for sometime in late May.

Hart is coming off a suburb season, one in which he hit for a .270 average, 30 homeruns and 83 RBIs. His production helped the Brewers the NL in homers and runs scored, so even though the team had four other players with at least 19 homeruns last year, that production will definitely be missed during the first part of the season.

The injury will give backup Mat Gamel an opportunity to fill in, which is the inverse of the scenario that played out last season when Gamel tore his ACL in May, which prompted Hart to move from right field to first base. Gamel doesn’t have a ton of experience, but the Brewers have been high on him ever since he was drafted by the team in 2005 and saw his first major league action in 2008.

With Pittsburgh improving and with Cincinnati coming back with another stacked team, the NL Central will be as competitive as ever, so although Hart will likely end up missing just a small portion of the long season, his absence could make a difference at the end of the year. Of course, the greater concern will be if this will be a nagging injury and if Hart can stay healthy long term.

The Brewers current World Series odds are set at 35/1 and those odds are unlikely to change much, if at all, with this news. However, bettors should certainly take Hart’s injury into account as the season approaches and we will have to wait and see if the Brewers can get off to a good start without him. They have plenty of other big sluggers, but those sluggers will need to pick up the slack even more than usual.

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