MILWAUKEE -- Former Orioles star Cal Ripken Jr. played his entire Hall of Fame career for one team, and he was glad to see Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun sign a contract last week that puts him in position to do the same thing.

"There are challenges all across the board for players to play in one place; sometimes situations change, sometimes rebuilding programs change, sometimes you can't last," Ripken said. "It's really good to see players do it. If a lot of players had their druthers, they would like to play in a place they grew up, but sometimes you don't have choices.

"When you do have choices, and you can start to get your long-term identity with a team, it makes me feel good. I'm sure the fans here feel really good that they can watch him for a while, and you hope the situation is always preserved."

Ripken was in Milwaukee promoting "Badges for Baseball," a program affiliated with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation that pairs at-risk kids and law enforcement officials in baseball and softball events. Ripken is paired with Wisconsin Attorney General J.P. Van Hollen in the program.

Wisconsin is one of 18 states with Badges for Baseball programs.

"When my dad died from lung cancer, [his brother] Billy and I sat down and tried to capture the spirit of his life," Ripken said. "Dad was always into helping kids, especially kids who didn't have dads, so we decided to start the foundation in that spirit. We use baseball as an icebreaker just to get in front of kids."

Hart returns early to replace injured Almonte

MILWAUKEE -- A batting practice accident prompted the Brewers to abruptly alter their plans Tuesday and reinstate All-Star outfielder Corey Hart from the disabled list.

Hart was needed after bench player Erick Almonte was struck in the face by a thrown ball during batting practice. He was distracted while standing near first base and appeared to be struck near the right eye. The Brewers placed him on the new seven-day disabled list with a concussion.

Major League Baseball just instituted the seven-day DL this spring to address concerns about head injuries.

Hart missed the Brewers' first 22 games with a left rib cage strain suffered in an early-spring throwing drill. He was 2-for-15 during a five-game rehabilitation stint at Triple-A Nashville, and both hits were doubles in the same inning on Friday. Hart was otherwise 0-for-13, including 0-for-7 with two strikeouts after his two-double hits.

No worries, he said.

"I didn't care what I did," Hart said. "I took my at-bats a little different than I normally do. I wasn't as aggressive as I normally am. I knew I wasn't going to have a lot of at-bats, so I wanted to see as many pitches as I can.

"It actually worked out, because four of the guys that I faced were big prospects, so they had good arms. It was nice to see velocity from guys with good movement and good stuff. I wasn't worried about performance. I was just trying to see the ball, and I saw the ball fine."

Hart grounded into a fielder's choice in a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Reds. He is expected back in the starting lineup on Wednesday and will rather quickly resume his role as Milwaukee's everyday right fielder, according to manager Ron Roenicke.

Saito, Morgan sent for rehab assignments

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers reliever Takashi Saito and outfielder Nyjer Morgan are headed to Nashville.

The Brewers announced that Saito would pitch a one-game rehabilitation assignment at the team's Triple-A affiliate on Thursday, and that Morgan would begin a rehab assignment of his own on Friday. Saito is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, and Morgan with a deep right thigh bruise.

"It just needed time," Morgan said. "I was doing everything I could to try to loosen it up, and it wasn't working. At some point we decided to [use the DL] so we didn't have to push it. Now it's all good."

Morgan expects to be more than ready to return when he's eligible May 3.

Saito should be back in a Brewers uniform sooner. He threw two simulated games at Miller Park, including one on Monday, and it was Saito's input that prompted the Brewers to send him to pitch in Nashville.

"I asked him how he felt, and I asked him what he thought he needed," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Would you want to go down to pitch one game to see game competition where you're going 100 percent, how not just the arm or the hamstring felt? For us, it makes the decision easier if he goes down and pitches a game and is perfectly fine. It makes it easier for us to take him off the DL."

If the outing goes well, Saito will be activated Saturday or Sunday in Houston.

Last call

The Brewers held third baseman Casey McGehee out of Tuesday's lineup after he sprained his left thumb on a game-ending groundout Monday night. "He wanted to play today, so I think that tells me he's OK," manager Ron Roenicke said.