The Milwaukee Brewers announced that first baseman Corey Hart
will be out three-to-four months following surgery to his right knee.
Hart, 30, is entering the final year of his three-year deal with the Brewers. In 2012, he moved from right field to first base after Mat Gamel
tore his ACL in his right knee, and missed the rest of the 2012 season. In 149 games in 2012, Hart hit .270/.334/.507 with a .841 OPS and 30 home runs. Hart's right knee is the same knee he had surgery on during the start of spring training last year, however, he was able to return to the lineup by Opening Day.
Although the prognoses is three-to-four months for recovery, Hart is expected to return to the Milwaukee lineup in late May or early June. He'll need to be off the knee six-to-seven weeks before resuming baseball activities.
The Brewers are likely to use Mat Gamel at first base while Hart is out. Gamel, 27, appeared in just 21 games for the Brewers in 2012 after going down with the aforementioned ACL injury.
In 106 big-league games, Gamel is hitting .229/.305/.367 with a .671 OPS and 6 home runs. However, in 2011, during a full season with Triple-A Nashville, Gamel hit .310/.372/.540 with a .912 OPS and 28 home runs.
While Gamel won't provide the home run spark that Hart does, the Brewers will likely be okay with Gamel in the lineup until Hart is able to return.
Here is what I'm projecting the Brewers 2013 Opening Day Lineup will likely look like:
From a fantasy standpoint, owners will want to be cautious with Hart's injury and draft position. While he could only miss two months at the start of the season, it will be interesting to see if Hart's offensive production suffers the rest of 2013 because of the injury. However, after enjoying a fantastic year in 2012, and the fact that he's on his final year of his contract, Hart could be motivated to produce big numbers upon his return.
As far as Mat Gamel, his appeal is more for NL-Only owners. Mixed league owners could take a flier on him at the corner infield spot, with the hopes that he'll take advantage of his playing time.