MILWAUKEE – Bob Uecker is back in the booth with a fixed-up ticker. His sense of humor never changed.
A fit and trim looking Uecker held a 30-minute press conference Friday to discuss his recovery from heart surgery.
"I'm ready to rock and roll," he said.
The 75-year-old broadcaster underwent surgery April 30 to replace his aortic valve, aortic root and part of his ascending aorta, and had a coronary bypass, too.
He said that he felt great, but admitted that his two doctors, Alfred Nicolosi and Jim Kleczka, might not agree.
He joked that they let him return because he promised they could throw out a ceremonial first pitch as the Brewers play the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
"I hope they do better than they did on my incision," he said.
His doctors, who expected him to be out 10 to 12 weeks following surgery, want him to be cautious and still are treating him for a staph infection he later developed. He can't resume playing golf or swimming. Uecker also underwent heart surgery in 1991 and made a full recovery in five weeks.
Against his doctors' wishes, he may travel with the team, but only to nearby parks and depending on how he feels.
"If I have a problem, I will not travel," he said. "I want to get back and do what I was doing before. I feel better. I really do feel better."
He didn't flinch when he was asked about how tough it's been to see the Brewers struggle.
The Brewers, 10 games behind St. Louis in the NL Central, have split the first two four-game series since the All-Star break. However, they just can't seem to shed the growing funk caused by poor starting pitching, lack of clutch hitting, some spotty defense and trade rumors involving Prince Fielder and Corey Hart.
"It's nothing that I haven't seen before, and it's nothing that can't be rectified," he said. "I'm the eternal optimist."
Brewers manager Ken Macha said that he was glad Uecker was back.
"He has a way of grounding me," Milwaukee's skipper said. "He has a good perspective on things."
Uecker, in his 40th year behind the microphone, plans to call the entire six-game homestand, three with the Nationals and three with Cincinnati. In 2003, he entered the broadcaster's wing of the Hall of Fame and earned the 2003 Ford C. Frick award.