Corey Hart missed all of 2013 following knee surgery and might as well have missed all of last season too, hitting just .203 with a .590 OPS in 68 games for the Mariners while looking like a shell of his former All-Star self.
Hart signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Pirates this offseason and now the 33-year-old is on the comeback trail, telling Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that he’s trying to adjust his overall game to no longer having plus speed:
Speed was definitely a big part of my game. But, right now instead of being tall and skinny, I filled out a little bit, so the weight is there and the knees are there. I’ll try to use the speed when I can, but I have to be smarter about the running process now.
Hart is 6-foot-6, but logged time in center field for the Brewers and swiped 20-plus bases in two different seasons. Those days are gone now, so Hart is focusing on getting his bat back to where it was when he ranked among the league’s top right-handed power hitters, batting .280 with 30 homers per season from 2010-2012.
He’ll likely begin this season in a part-time role, platooning with the left-handed-hitting Pedro Alvarez at first base, but he’s also a candidate to see some time in the outfield corners if the Pirates need reinforcements there.