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Uecker happy to be back at ballpark

Uecker happy to be back at ballpark

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MILWAUKEE -- A familiar face and voice has returned to the Brewers' broadcast booth.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker, who had been gone since April after having heart surgery, was back Friday in his familiar role alongside Cory Provus as Milwaukee's play-by-play announcer.

Before the 7-5 win over the Nationals on Friday, Uecker was his usual self.

"I'm ready to rock and roll," Uecker said to open his news conference. "The doctors kind of said, 'OK.' They knew I was coming back anyway, so there was nothing they could do."

Uecker announced that he would work every home game through the end of the season while also covering select road trips.

As for where he might travel, Uecker suggested close cities such as Chicago and Cincinnati, as well as San Francisco because he "likes it there."

"I'm really looking forward to coming back and working," Uecker said. "Depending on how I feel, and I think I'm going to feel OK, I'm going to go back to work."

Surgeons replaced Uecker's aortic valve, a portion of his aortic root and performed a coronary bypass on one vessel on April 30. He was expected to return within 10-12 weeks, but a staph infection slowed his progress.

Uecker said the infection, his inability to put the weight back on -- he's still 10 pounds down from before the surgery -- as well as getting the right mix of medications have been the biggest struggles since he's been away.

Even with the setback of the staph infection, however, Uecker's return Friday came exactly 12 weeks to the date of the surgery.

"It's been a long haul," Uecker said. "Not from the surgery. I got that staph infection right after we had the last [news conference]. That was the thing that really put me down. I don't know if it ever goes away. I'm still on a lot of medication for that.

"It something that attacks new things in your body."

Uecker said he had an 80 percent blockage in his aorta, though he "never had a pain, never had a problem." "I noticed the first night I was breathing better," Uecker said. "I was breathing easier, not that I ever had a problem. ... Now I feel stronger. I really do feel better."

While he was away, Uecker joked that he was renting people to come stay with him due to the boredom of being away from Miller Park for so long.

That, he said, was what he missed most during his time off: being in the clubhouse, around the guys and being with Provus and producer Kent Sommerfeld in the radio booth.

"Every day at a certain time, you're supposed to be at the ballpark. When you can't go to the ballpark, it's terribly boring," Uecker said. "When you're around here as long as I've been here and you make friendships, you miss that stuff."

Uecker's doctors, Alfred C. Nicolosi and Jim Kleczka, in recognition of the work they did on the Brewers broadcaster, were given the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitches before Friday's game.

After mentioning it, Uecker -- right on cue -- shared his thoughts about how they might do.

"I hope they do better than they did on my incision," Uecker joked. "I hope they throw a good pitch tonight. They're all fired up about that."

Provus said earlier in the week that Uecker would have his usual pregame show with Brewers manager Ken Macha while doing play-by-play for six innings to Provus' three.

So how would Uecker make his return to the broadcast booth even better?

"I'd like to win, I'd like to win all the time," Uecker said. "I don't worry about what I say or do. I could make stuff up. In my mind, we'll win. But I want them to win. I always want them to win.

"Winning is a lot more fun in the broadcast booth."

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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