Melvin planning to hold Escobar, Gamel

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin parted with his top prospect to land an ace last July, but sounds hesitant to do so again this summer.

Third baseman Mat Gamel and shortstop Alcides Escobar aren’t exactly off-limits, but Melvin said on Tuesday that he did not expect to trade either young player to acquire a pitcher before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.

“I find that almost impossible,” Melvin said. “You never say never, but it’s not my focus at all. Young players are valuable, you know? You talk about teams looking for hitting, and shortstops are so valuable. If you don’t have one, you can go years without having one.”

Gamel is proving valuable, too. He was hitting .336 at Triple-A Nashville before a promotion to Milwaukee last month, and will remain in the Majors even though the Brewers won’t need to employ a designated hitter for the rest of the regular season. Gamel went 7-for-23 (.304) on the Brewers just-completed road trip.

Escobar has spent the entire year at Nashville and was hitting .295 with 27 stolen bases and 53 runs scored through his first 71 games this season.

But Melvin proved last season that he’s not afraid of making a splash. He included then-top prospect Matt LaPorta in the package of players that lured CC Sabathia from the Indians, a trade that propelled Milwaukee to its first postseason appearance in 26 years.

This year, he’s shopping again. The Brewers placed Dave Bush on the disabled list Tuesday with a triceps injury and will keep Manny Parra at Nashville for the foreseeable future. That leaves two holes in the rotation.

But with so many clubs still considering themselves contenders, the trade market is quiet.

“You don’t have that many clubs call,” Melvin said. “I talked to a GM today and it’s probably the first one I’ve talked to, about players or what we’re doing, in 10 days or so. It’s not like it’s a daily routine.”

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