It was typical Bob Uecker.
Sitting in front of local reporters to discuss his upcoming heart surgery and recovery time, Uecker -- in his usual, deadpan style, opened with the following statement:
"Most of you already know that I'm here today to annouce that I've been added to the active roster by the club," Uecker said.
Yup, heart surgery or not, Uecker was still Uecker.
The Hall of Fame broadcaster is facing a serious -- though somewhat common -- procedure Friday morning. Uecker, 75, will undergo an operation to replace both his aortic valve and stem.
Dr. Jim Kleczka of Froedtert was on hand, as well. Kleczka had been treating Uecker for the condition, which he said has been around for quite some time and worsened recently.
Last September, Uecker was diagnosed with a heart murmmer and referred to Kleczka. tests revealed that Uecker's aortic valve was "leaking badly," according to Kleczka, and the aortic root had swollen.
The two problems are often related but immediate surgery isn't always necessary. Instead, Uecker was monitored and underwent regular EKGs and CT scans, which in recent days showed the problem had worsened.
"Even though he doesn't have any sypmtons right now, they've grown to a point where something needs to be done because I'm afraid he could have problems in terms of this potentially rupturing before the end of the season if this isn't done," Kleczka said. "He's at a high risk of something bad happening."
Kleczka will perform a catheterization tomorrow to determine if a bypass needs to be done as well and Dr. Alfred Nicolosi will perform the operation on Friday.
In 1991, Uecker made a full recovery after undergoing surgery to repair two abdominal aortic aneurysms. He missed about five weeks after that operation, but will need at least 1o to 12 weeks to recover this time around.
He does, though, plan to return.
"They told me 'not this time,'" Uecker said. "When they tell me it's OK, I'll start with some home games and when they let me, I want to get back out there again."
Watching from the side of the room were manager Ken Macha, along with players Jim Edmonds, Craig Counsell, Prince Fielder, Trevor Hoffman and Casey McGehee. Uecker was touched by their presence.
"It means a lot," he said. "They're concerned for me and I'm concerned for them when they get hurt."
Uecker will call games tonight and tomorrow afternoon before leaving the team. Davey Nelson, currently handling pre- and post-game duties on FS Wisconsin will join Uecker's broadcast partner, Cory Provus, and provide color commentary on the next road trip.