Gamel brushes off bad luck, vows to move ahead
Mat Gamel reported to Brewers camp Tuesday with his head up and his eyes bright, vowing to plow through a second straight year of rehabilitation from right knee surgery with a positive attitude.
But he did allow himself one crack about the terrible news that his surgically-repaired ACL had torn again.
“They said 10 percent will do that,” Gamel said. “If there’s a one percent chance of it doing something bad, then it’s going to happen to me.
“But, what do you do, man? You go have the surgery and come back stronger and try to start it over again, I guess.”
A timetable has yet to be set for Gamel’s surgery, but it’s clear that his 2013 season is over before it began, and that another long rehab lies ahead.
He was Milwaukee’s Opening Day first baseman last season but tore his ACL colliding with a low wall in San Diego on May 1 and missed the rest of the season. Gamel rehabbed diligently and was presented with opportunity when Corey Hart suffered his own right knee injury during the offseason and underwent surgery that would sideline him at least through April and perhaps through May.
But bad luck struck Gamel again on Saturday, when he felt a tweak in his knee during the Brewers’ first full-squad workout. He described the sensation after that as “shifting” in the joint, “but it’s not like I went down or anything.” Even when Brewers head physician William Raasch ordered another MRI scan, Gamel never fathomed it would be another tear.
Yet that’s exactly what it was.
“It was shocking, to say the least,” Gamel said. “That was the <i>last</i> thing I would have expected it would have been.”
The repair had torn right through the middle, which Brewers head athletic trainer Dan Wright characterized as particularly rare. Yet Gamel always seems bit by bad luck, going back to 2010 and 2011 when more minor Spring Training injuries cost him shots at the Opening Day roster.
Gamel may take up Hart on an offer to move into Hart’s guest house in Phoenix’s west valley, and believes that his experience through rehab last year will help him this time. He will have a better idea when to push the joint without fear of further damage.
“I didn’t really expect to have to go through it this soon, but here we are,” Gamel said.
Does he ever ask, Why me?
“What’s that going to change?” Gamel said. “I’m not going to sit and pout and feel bad for myself because that isn’t going to change nothing, except put me in a bad mood. Right now, I need to be positive.”
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