MILWAUKEE -- Injured second baseman Rickie Weeks is finally ready to rule out a return to action for the Brewers this season.
"Pretty much, yeah," Weeks said. "They want me to come back next year. Of course, if something happens and we're still in it, I would love to come back and do something to help, but I don't think it's going to happen."
That proclamation did not come as a major surprise, since the official word from the team was that Weeks' May 20 left wrist surgery would sideline him for the rest of the year. But before Thursday, the Brewers' second baseman and leadoff hitter had been expressing hope of playing before the year was out.
The Brewers' recent slide in the standings -- the team was 12 games behind the first-place Cardinals entering play Thursday -- has made club officials even more insistent that he wait until 2009.
"That's pretty much my focus," Weeks said. "I want to get it set to where I can enter the offseason [healthy] and be able to do all of my regular activities."
Weeks has been rehabbing with an off-site hand specialist, doing things like wrist curls and massage. He has been cleared to take "dry" swings with a fungo bat, but has not done any hitting since his surgery, in which a torn sheath that is supposed to hold a tendon in place in Weeks' wrist was replaced by metal anchors. Weeks had the same procedure on his other wrist in 2006.
The injury, suffered on a May 17 swing in St. Louis, cut short what looked like a breakthrough season for Weeks, who was batting .272 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs in just 37 games. He's arbitration-eligible again this winter.
Another rehabbing Brewer might have better luck. Outfielder Corey Hart, who has been on the disabled list since undergoing an appendectomy on Aug. 2, took fly balls in the outfield on Thursday and "looked great," according to manager Ken Macha.
Hart will travel with the Brewers to St. Louis next week for batting practice before playing some games for a Minor League affiliate. Minor League regular seasons are about to end, but Double-A Huntsville is postseason-bound and could provide a place for Hart to play.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.