Hart gets good news from MRI

PHOENIX -- Brewers first baseman Corey Hart was cleared to begin intensifying his rehabilitation from right knee surgery after an MRI scan on Friday showed sufficient healing in the joint.

Hart has proven a quick healer in the past, but manager Ron Roenicke said the club would continue to operate under the original four-month timetable for Hart's return, a path that would put him back in the Brewers' lineup in late May.

"If he heals faster, great," Roenicke said.

Hart had surgery on Jan. 25 to repair torn cartilage and address an imperfection in his knee joint, a process in which the surgeon induced bleeding to promote bone healing. Friday's MRI scan was intended to examine whether a depression in Hart's knee had filled in.

Even with this bit of good news, Hart is still some weeks away from baseball activity.

"They liked what they saw. Corey is off crutches and can drive again, so he's a happy camper," Roenicke said.

Roenicke also received a positive report Friday about the team's other injured first baseman, Mat Gamel, who underwent successful surgery earlier in the day for a torn ACL. Gamel had a similar procedure last May and missed the final five months of the season; he'll miss all of 2013.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.