Emptying the notebook…
- The Brewers’ veterans are doing everything they can to make sure third base prospect Mat Gamel “gets” the enormity of the opportunity he’s facing. Gamel, who is in his first big league camp, was a late arrival Friday morning apparently because his alarm clock failed, so a certain veteran catcher found a portable locker and moved every last one of Gamel’s belongings outside. Gamel arrived about 15 minutes before the team stretched and dressed under the morning sunshine.
It drew some smiles from the other young players, but this is serious business to the vets. Manager Ken Macha has already met twice with Gamel to lay down his expectations, and now he might have another chat. Earlier in camp, Gamel was nudged to buy lunch for the team after a late arrival.
He started Friday’s game as the designated hitter and got off to a rough start — 0-for-5, three strikeouts — before hitting a three-run home run in the ninth inning.
“It saved his day, he hit a homer,” Macha said. “The talent is there, he’s just trying to figure it out.”
- Just to be clear, we’re not trying to pick on Gamel, who is a supreme offensive talent. Macha has the same expectations for everyone, and sat down one of the veteran players on Thursday after he was late to the team’s stretch and tried to sneak in unnoticed.
- Dave Bush worked with Minor League Jonathan Lucroy in Friday’s game against the Indians, but Macha is considering pairing Bush and Mike Rivera in the regular season. It appears that it’s down to Bush or Braden Looper/Seth McClung for Rivera, a move designed to give regular catcher Jason Kendall more rest.
For the record, Bush said he would have no problem with the pairing.
“I’ve worked with him a lot over the years and had some success,” Bush said. “I would be fine with it.”
- The Brewers’ second off-day of the spring is Tuesday, and Macha scheduled a morning “B” game at Surprise against the Rangers. It’s mostly to keep the starting pitchers on track, and in this case Seth McClung is scheduled to work.
- I think I have written before that infielder Hernan Iribarren is out of Minor League options, but that’s not the case. Brewers officials learned over the winter that Iribarren qualified for a fourth option, meaning he can be sent out to Triple-A Nashville at the end of camp.
I haven’t mentioned Iribarren in the mix of outfielders because I have barely seen him out there. He played a few innings in left field against the Angels, but it’s a bit curious that he has not seen more outfield action given the Brewers’ thin ranks.
- Played basketball on Thursday night with an agent who broke my heart with the news that all-time good guy Matt Wise has retired. Wise, who pitched for the Brewers from 2004-2007 and was a Tommy John surgery success story, struggled with injuries all last year with the Mets. He threw for teams over the winter but the pain was too much.
- Macha and I are going to end up arm wrestling over who gets the pork chop at Frasher’s Restaurant in Scottsdale named in his honor. Macha is a black belt, so I’d put my money on him.