MILWAUKEE -- Brewers first baseman Corey Hart has had no fun at all watching the team's recent hot streak from the bench.The good news Friday was that he was closer to returning to the starting lineup. The bad news was that Hart was not cleared to play just yet, still recovering from a painful injury to the arch of his left foot. "Let's hope [on Saturday] he can maybe help us, though I don't know if he'll be starting," manager Ron Roencike said. "If we can get him by the road trip, that would be great." The Brewers begin a tough 10-game trip on Tuesday that takes them to Pittsburgh, Washington and Cincinnati. If Hart remains sidelined until the beginning of the road trip, he will have missed six starts. Hart reported significant improvement over Thursday's off-day, and he was cleared Friday to run on the treadmill, take grounders at first base and take swings in the batting cage. Hart was wearing a custom foot insert designed to ease the pain in his foot caused by a partial rupture of the plantar fascia in his left arch. "I hadn't swung on the field for three days, but it felt pretty good," Hart said. "If I wake up [Saturday] and there's nothing different, hopefully they'll let me play. Basically, it's just trial [and error]. It's not going to go away -- it's still going to be there. It's just how bad it hurts." Sitting out hurts just as badly, considering the Brewers had won 18 of their last 23 games entering Friday, including a three-game sweep of the Braves with Hart on the bench. They were 3 1/2 games behind the Cardinals on Friday afternoon in the race for the National League's second Wild Card spot. "It's unbelievable," Hart said. "Everybody gave up on us, except for us."
Braun says no problems between Crew, Mets
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun expected nothing out of the ordinary in Friday's game against the Mets, the teams' first matchup since the tense night in May on which Braun was plunked and David Wright was removed early to avoid the possibility of retaliation.It was May 15, and Braun was hit by a suspicious D.J. Carrasco pitch immediately after Rickie Weeks' seventh-inning home run gave the Brewers an 8-0 lead. Wright, due to bat for the Mets leading off the bottom of the inning, was pulled from the game by manager Terry Collins over Wright's visible objection. On Friday, Braun confirmed an ESPN New York report that both Wright and Collins approached him at the All-Star Game to smooth things over. Besides, Braun said, the Brewers are more concerned about their bid for the postseason. "We have far bigger things to worry about than what happened four months ago," Braun said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's done and over with. "I like David, too. He's my boy. So I hope we don't do anything." Publicly, manager Ron Roenicke did not sound like a man plotting retaliation. "That's so long ago, that doesn't even come into my mind," Roenicke said. "We're at a point right now we need to worry about beating these guys and winning as many games as we can." It's notable that Carrasco is no longer with the Mets. And Friday's Brewers starter, Mike Fiers, was still pitching at Triple-A Nashville on May 15. Collins said he had "no concern" over retaliation.
"I think it's done," Collins said. "I understand, being there, I certainly thought the same thing. Our pitcher said he didn't do it on purpose. OK ... the perception was he did. But I don't think anything's going to fester now. It's been a long time, and that guy's not here now."
Brewers honor top Minors players Morris, Burgos
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers honored Minor League Player of the Year Hunter Morris and Minor League Pitcher of the Year Hiram Burgos in a pregame ceremony at Miller Park on Friday, but Morris' season isn't over and Burgos hopes his isn't, either.Morris will play in the Arizona Fall League beginning next month, and Burgos revealed Friday that he has been throwing at the Brewers' training complex in Phoenix, just in case he's needed before the big league season is over. "The good thing is that I [am] available, I am healthy, I am still throwing my bullpens," said Burgos, who was discussed as a September callup candidate. "I'm still ready to go. Anything can happen, so right now I'm not disappointed or anything. I made a big jump this year, going through three levels." Burgos, 25, was 10-4 with a 1.95 ERA in 28 starts and one relief appearance in a 2012 season that began at advanced Class A Brevard County and took him to Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville. The former sixth-round Draft pick held his own at the franchise's top affiliate, posting a 2.91 ERA in eight starts at Nashville. "It was my fourth year at the Minor League level, and it was time to put everything together," he said. The same went for Morris, 23, a fourth-round Draft pick in 2010 who played his third Minor League season and added strong defense to his potent bat. The Brewers have long known Morris could hit -- and he did again in 2012, batting .303 with 28 home runs and 113 RBIs for Huntsville -- but challenged him at the end of last season to improve at first base. Morris had an experienced teacher in Huntsville manager Darnell Coles, who played all over the diamond during 13 Major League seasons. "This year it all seemed to come together. It clicked," Morris said. "Out of the 139 games we played, before about 130 of them, I was out for early work for nothing but defense. That was my biggest focus this year, and it made a huge difference. Being comfortable at first base on the defensive side of it took a lot of pressure off at the plate." And he thrived at the plate, becoming the first Huntsville player to win Southern League MVP honors since Corey Hart in 2003.
Brewers attach black ribbon to American flag
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers fastened a black ribbon to the American flag at Miller Park to honor the Americans killed in Libya this week.President Obama ordered flags on all government buildings to be flown at half-staff beginning Wednesday, and Major League Baseball directed its clubs to follow that directive. Because the flag inside Miller Park is affixed to one of the roof supports and does not fly on a flagpole, the ribbon was attached instead. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, 52, was among the four Americans killed.
Center fielder Carlos Gomez was back in the Brewers' lineup Friday after bruising his right leg in a hard slide at second base on Wednesday.
While the Brewers were off Thursday, the team announced a two-year extension of its player development contract with Double-A Huntsville, through 2014. Like he did days earlier, when the Brewers extended their affiliation with Triple-A Nashville, general manager Doug Melvin expressed dissatisfaction with the stadium situation in Huntsville.
"The current facility and conditions provide a number of challenges on the player development front and we support Miles Prentice and his ownership group in their continued efforts to get a much needed new park," Melvin said in a statement. "The Southern League continues to provide a competitive environment for our players at the Double-A level and we look towards continuing our long-time affiliation with the Huntsville Stars."
The Stars have been a Brewers' affiliate since 1999.