The Brewers’ medical staff has been discouraged by third baseman Mat Gamel’s slow progress back from a sore right shoulder, and it is increasingly likely that the injury will cost Gamel a shot at the Opening Day roster, manager Ken Macha said Wednesday.
“It’s getting to the point where it’s going to be hard to get him enough at-bats to feel like he’s ready,” Macha said.
Gamel also missed time last spring with a sore throwing shoulder. During the season, he bounced between everyday duty at Triple-A Nashville and the Brewers’ big league bench. He batted .278 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs in 75 games at Nashville and .242 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 61 games with Milwaukee.
“I would have liked to have him have a very positive spring and come into the [season] with a positive attitude,” Macha said. “Last year, it was a little bit of a struggle for him at the end of the year.”
Speaking of injury-plagued prospects, catcher Angel Salome suffered a minor ankle injury during batting practice on Tuesday and will be sidelined a few days. He was supposed to catch Dave Bush in a “B” game against the Rangers on Thursday, but Matt Treanor will handle that assignment instead.
Last spring, Salome missed time because of a bad back.
UPDATE from assistant general manager Gord Ash, who says that Salome’s left ankle is the one in question. He saw Dr. Evan Lederman on Wednesday morning, and Lederman suggested that the injury is not a major issue.
Either Salome or fellow catching prospect Jonathan Lucroy might end up very disappointed at the end of camp. Both probably belong in Triple-A this season, Salome because he was there last year and held his own, and Lucroy because he was very good at Double-A Huntsville last season and then participated in the Arizona Fall League.
Macha said that club officials had discussed the conundrum this week. He hinted that if Salome and Lucroy are both healthy and in the organization at the start of the season, he would prefer to see one sent o Nashville and the other to Double-A Huntsville.
“I don’t think it helps you in your development if you’re not catching five days out of the week,” Macha said. “That’s just my opinion. Your job as a catcher is to learn the pitchers and learn what pitches work and sequences and things like that. When you’re catching three days a week, that’s tough.”
But Macha stressed that it’s not his call.
“That will be something for somebody else to figure out,” he said.
David Riske, recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, was scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday morning and said he could progress to a live batting practice session next week. But it is clear now that he will have to stay in extended Spring Training while the Brewers head north.
“I’m positive about the way things are going,” Riske said. “It will be nice to get a hitter up there.”
The Brewers’ lineup against Aroldis Chapman and the Reds looks like this:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Carlos Gomez CF
Ryan Braun LF
Corey Hart RF
Steffan Wilson 1B
Craig Counsell 3B
Alcides Escobar SS
George Kottaras C
Doug Davis LHP