ST. LOUIS -- Wednesday marked the one-month anniversary of Corey Hart's appendectomy, but the Brewers right fielder doesn't expect to remain sidelined much longer. Hart took part in batting, fielding and baserunning drills on Wednesday at Busch Stadium and was cleared to head out for a four-game Minor League rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Nashville. Hart will travel to New Orleans on Thursday to join the team before playing in the series that starts Friday. Hart said he expected to play three or four innings in the series opener before working up to full strength. "It will be nice to get out and see some live pitching again," Hart said.
He hasn't seen live pitching since Aug. 1, when Hart went 0-for-4 at San Diego and complained of a stomach ache. He thought it was from some bad seafood, but when he arrived the following morning complaining of pain, Brewers medical staffers sent him to an area hospital. That night, Hart underwent a procedure to remove his appendix. He had been slowly building strength before taking batting practice with the team over the past four days. "I can't wait to get back," Hart said. "Being a bench player is fine because you always feel like there's a chance you'll contribute. When you're hurt, there's nothing you can do. You just feel useless." The Brewers have split right-field duties in Hart's absence between left-handed hitters Frank Catalanotto and Jody Gerut and right-handed hitter Jason Bourgeois. Assuming Hart shows that he can play the full game, manager Ken Macha plans to re-install him as the regular right fielder upon his return. "That's what we're trying to do, get him ready to play," Macha said. In 98 games this year, Hart is batting .264 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs. He was hitting .329 over the 22 games before his appendix flared up. Reliever Seth McClung (right elbow) also made more progress on Wednesday when he mixed some curveballs and two-seam fastballs into a 40-pitch bullpen session. McClung will throw one or two more sessions before graduating to live batting practice against Brewers hitters as early as next week. He still hopes to pitch before the end of the season, though Macha made it clear that the team will be cautious. "It all depends on the elbow," McClung said. "I've had no setbacks and the training staff has been patient with me wanting to push harder." Fellow injured reliever Jesus Colome (right forearm) was eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday, but Macha wasn't sure when he would be available. The Brewers already have nine healthy relievers on call.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.