Hart getting first start in right field
With Robinson Cano lined up to play designated hitter against the Rangers in today’s 11:05 a.m. PT game for the Mariners, Corey Hart went to manager Lloyd McClendon and said he was ready to play right field.
Hart hadn’t played in the outfield since July 21, 2012, while with the Brewers, prior to his two microfracture knee surgeries that wiped out all of 2013. But Hart worked in the outfield this spring and told McClendon he was ready to give it a run after starting at DH in 10 of Seattle’s first 14 games.
“He told me he’s feeling good and his knees are fine,” said McClendon, who had indicated earlier in the week that it would be a while before he played Hart in the outfield. “I’ve got to go with my player, too, he said he’s feeling pretty good. But we’ll watch him. We’ll keep an eye on him.”
Hart is no stranger to the outfield, with 793 career starts there while with the Brewers. Only in the past few years was he shifted more to first base. The Mariners hoped to play him there after signing him to a one-year deal in free agency, but a sore biceps in spring limited his work and McClendon doesn’t want to push his knees too quickly either.
“I’d much rather play in the field then not play in the field,” Hart said. “My arm hasn’t helped that issue, but you’ve got to start somewhere. So I’ll go out there and give Robbie a break and hopefully not have any issues.
“I’ve just been doing regular BP stuff in the outfield. Other than that, not a ton. But I’ve been out there before. I don’t think he’s expecting me to win any awards out there right now. He just wants me to catch it when it’s hit my direction.”
McClendon said Hart definitely wouldn’t play the outfield in the more-spacious right field in Miami this weekend, but there is a possibility he could play a game at first base when the Mariners lose the designated hitter in the interleague series.