Corey Hart Set To Return to the Milwaukee Brewers

Jim OxleyContributor IApril 25, 2011

ATLANTA - JULY 15:  Corey Hart #1 of the Milwaukee Brewers against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

According to sources for the Milwaukee Brewers, Corey Hart will return to the team for his first start on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how well he feels after his Monday night start for Triple-A Nashville.

Hart is recovering from an oblique injury suffered in late February.

News of Hart's return should excite Brewers fans for several reasons.

First, Hart will be able to take over the starting role in right field, a position that has been platooned by Mark Kotsay, Erick Almonte, Nyjer Morgan and most recently Brandon Boggs.

This gives the Brewers much more flexibility in the outfield.

With Hart returning as the starter, the Brewers will have a stronger outfield bench, especially once Morgan makes his return from the 15-Day DL.

The Brewers will benefit most, however, by the return of Hart's bat to the lineup.

Last season, the Brewers top of the order featured arguably one of the most powerful fivesomes in the NL with Rickie Weeks, Hart, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee leading the batting order.

Here are the stats produced by those five players last season.

Statistics taken from
Weeks 160    112    175    29    83 .269    .366    .500   
Hart 145 91 158 31 102    .283 .240 .525
Braun 157 101 188 25 103 .304 .365 .501
Fielder 161 94 151 32 83 .261 .401 .471
McGehee    157 70 174 23 104 .285 .337 .464

Hart will likely resume his role as the No. 2 hitter, relieving Carlos Gomez of the duty. Gomez has been struggling in the two-spot, batting .247 with an on-base percentage of just .287.

The Brewers have managed to stay above .500 while awaiting the return of the injured Hart and pitcher Zach Greinke.

Currently, the Brewers sit just a half game behind the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals as they begin a three-game series with Cincinnati Reds.