Brewers face decisions on pitching, Gamel
General manager Doug Melvin and manager Ken Macha will have another of their Miller Park meetings on Tuesday, and two questions will dominate the discussion:
– Who will join the starting rotation this week?
– Is it time to send Mat Gamel back to Triple-A Nashville so he can play?
First, the pitching.
Yovani Gallardo will start Tuesday’s series opener against the Cardinals but the Brewers’ could introduce a new arm to the rotation as early as Wednesday. It appears that Seth McClung, who surrendered 10 runs in 7 1/3 innings over his two starts, will return to the bullpen, meaning that Melvin must fill the vacancy either via a trade, a signing or a promotion.
The promotion may be the most likely scenario, and left-hander Manny Parra threw his name back into the hopper when he pitched seven scoreless innings for Nashville on Friday. Parra has been sharp in three of his four starts in the Minors since the Brewers demoted him last month, and his next scheduled start is on Wednesday.
Because of Monday’s off-day, Macha does not need another starter until Saturday. Macha expected to have his decision by Tuesday.
“If we need to make an adjustment we need to let [the staff at Nashville] know by Tuesday,” Macha said.
The emergence of Casey McGehee as an everyday member of Milwaukee’s starting lineup has left Gamel twiddling his thumbs on the bench. He walked as a pinch-hitter on Saturday, but has only four plate appearances this month and 15 plate appearances in the Brewers’ last 12 games.
“I’ve thought about that,” Macha said Saturday. “I thought about playing him today but this guy [Cubs starter Rich Harden] has a real good change-up. They’ve been throwing [Gamel] a lot of slow stuff. Casey’s emergence here has stumped that. It’s something that Doug and I will talk about. We’ve already talked about it.”
They have discussed the same question being asked by many Brewers fans: Would Gamel, considered along with Triple-A shortstop Alcides Escobar to be Milwaukee’s top prospects, be better off playing every day in the Minors?
Melvin was mum on the topic.
“If we have a roster move, we’ll let you know,” Melvin said. “It’s not good to talk about players or roster moves while they are still here. Nobody likes to know their fate ahead of time.”
If the Brewers do indeed return Gamel to Nashville, they would promote another position player, Macha said.
“It is a tough call,” Macha said. “You look for balance in your lineup, and [Gamel] is a left-handed hitter. We’re breaking him into the big leagues, and you don’t want to bury him. You try to pick a spot where he can be successful, get some confidence, and yet you’re trying to contend for a pennant.
“It gets to be a jam. You’re developing a guy, so do you put the pressure on him that he’s going to be up there with guys on base all the time? … In a way, I was put into a little bit of a ‘zim-zam.’ It’s got me flummoxed.”