Free agent Corey Hart says Red Sox among teams that have contacted him

November 19, 2013 - 2:27 pm

Free agent first baseman/outfielder Corey Hart, who hit .277 with a .335 OBP, .495 slugging mark while averaging 24 homers a year over the six-year span from 2007-12 before missing all of 2013 while recovering from surgical procedures on both knees, told SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio that the Red Sox are among several teams that have contacted him to express interest. Hart, a two-time All-Star, had been a right fielder for most of his career until shifting to first base (while continuing to play some right field) in 2012. He said that he's nearing medical clearance suggesting that he's fully recovered from the surgeries on Dec. 3, at which point he expects his conversations with teams to pick up. "What's so hard right now is I don't get cleared until Dec. 3. We have plenty of teams calling and checking in and who want to see how I'm doing, but until the doctor says I'm 100 percent, I think they're going to hold off till that time," Hart told MLB Network Radio. "It's kind of frustrating because I've been 100 percent for the last month, but until I can actually get back out to L.A., I'm kind of in a holding pattern right now." Hart made it sound as if he represents a fallback option for the Red Sox, presumably in a scenario in which the team is not able to retain Mike Napoli. He said that he expects the fact that he's returning from injury, in some ways, to help his market, since the questions about his health convinced the Brewers not to extend a qualifying offer to him (something that means that teams signing him wouldn't have to give up a draft pick) and that, as a player returning from injury, he won't require as significant a commitment as other first basemen and right fielders on the market. "We've talked to [the Brewers, Rockies and Rays]. We've talked to quite a few teams. It's kind of split between American League, even Boston, we've talked to a few teams where they might have an option out in front of me but they still check in just in case those guys go other places," said Hart. "I know I'll be a second or third option for some teams, but that might play in my favor if certain guys ask for too much or if they hold out. A guy like me, my negotiations won't be as extensive coming off an injury. We'll try to play that into our factor, that I don't have a draft pick attached to me and I obviously won't be as expensive as a lot of the guys." Hart's numbers against lefties are robust, as he's hit .300/.370/.526 against southpaws in his career, while posting solid but less impressive totals against right-handed pitchers (.267/.320/.478). The 2013 season was the last of a three-year, $26.5 million extension he signed with the Brewers during an All-Star campaign in 2010.