Alert Hart steals home despite past knee issues

Alert Hart steals home despite past knee issues

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Corey Hart is supposed to be slow playing things this spring, working his way back from a pair of microfracture knee surgeries that sidelined the big right fielder all of last season with the Brewers.

But Hart, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Mariners in free agency, has felt fine so far. And when the two-time All-Star found himself on third base in the fourth inning with a chance to steal home in Monday's 8-1 victory over the Rockies, well, he took it.

Hart had a solid lead and was moving down the line at third when speedster Xavier Avery took off for second in the two-out situation. So when the throw from catcher Michael McKenry bounced away from shortstop Christhian Adames, Hart kept going and crossed home plate standing for a successful double steal.

His manager's reaction?

"I fainted," said skipper Lloyd McClendon. "He wasn't supposed to be going. But to his credit, he read the ball in the dirt and it worked out for the best."

While Hart is practicing in the outfield every day and hasn't had any setbacks in the first two weeks of camp, he's played strictly designated hitter in his first three Cactus League games. The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder was 0-for-1 with two walks on Monday and is 2-for-6 with three walks overall.

McClendon intends to give the nine-year veteran some time in the outfield later this week, but initially intended to take things slowly. So did he have words for Hart after his aggressive bolt for the plate?

"No," said McClendon. "They were still trying to revive me."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.