Results tagged ‘ Mat Gamel ’

Gamel optioned out; tougher call coming next year

The Brewers burned Mat Gamel’s final Minor League option when they shipped the infielder to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday, ending a bid for an Opening Day roster spot that never really began. 
Gamel missed the first two weeks of Cactus League games with a right rib-cage strain he suffered early in Spring Training. He had a similarly ill-timed setback in 2010, when a torn muscle behind his right shoulder cost Gamel a chance to compete for a big-league job. 
The 25-year-old Gamel is a career .302 hitter in the Minor Leagues and will spend time at Triple-A for the fourth consecutive season. His option is good all year, meaning the Brewers can promote him to the Majors and demote him to the Minors multiple times in 2011. 
The tougher decision could come in 2012, when Gamel will be out of options and potentially a key player for the Brewers if Prince Fielder departs via free agency. Gamel came up as a third baseman, but was tried-out at first base and the corner outfield spots last season and is expected to move around again in 2011.
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Medical round-up: Lucroy, Hart, Gamel, Hawkins

Some medical updates from Brewers camp:
— Ron Roenicke confirmed that catcher Jonathan Lucroy could be ready for Opening Day if all goes according to plan in his recovery from a fractured right pinkie finger. A metal pin in Lucroy’s finger will come out on March 21, and Lucroy can begin hitting after that as the pain tolerates. 
“He threw to bases [on Saturday] without the splint on, and was good,” Roenicke said. “So really it’s just going to be a matter of gripping a bat, trying to get the flexibility back in his finger. That’s going to take a while. But everything else is good. He’s catching bullpens so his legs will be in shape.”
— Right fielder Corey Hart has been making significant progress in the past few days in his recovery from a left rib-cage strain, Roenicke said. Hart played catch, took grounders in the outfield and did core strengthening exercises on Saturday without issue.
“They’re going to try to step it up a little bit and put more on him, and see where he is,” Roenicke said. “He’s coming along pretty good. … In a couple of days, they’re hoping he can swing.”
— Third baseman/utility man/hitting prospect Mat Gamel was scheduled to take live batting practice for the first time on Sunday in Minor League camp. If it goes well, he could do it again Monday before slotting into Cactus League games. 
Gamel still has a chance to make the team, Roenicke said. But the fact he bats left-handed probably hurts his case — the Brewers already have Mark Kotsay, Craig Counsell and probably Chris Dickerson slated for bench duty — and it will be more difficult at this stage of spring for Gamel to demonstrate his defensive versatility because the regulars are playing deeper into games. 
“I know he can hit,” Roenicke said. “It’s just a matter of how he fits on our club.”
— A trio of relievers are making good progress. 
Reliever LaTroy Hawkins was “feeling great today” about his live patting practice on Saturday, Roenicke said, and will probably throw some simulated innings this week before debuting in a game. He’s coming back steadily from shoulder surgery.
Left-hander Mitch Stetter, who strained a muscle behind his shoulder early in camp, is scheduled to pitch Monday against the Giants after throwing a successful live batting practice session Friday.   
Another left-hander Manny Parra, was very close to getting back on the mound, Roenicke said. 
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Brewers say Hart out two weeks

ANOTHER UPDATE postgame — Ron Roenicke’s understanding is that Hart should be back in game shape in two weeks, not that he’ll be shut down for two weeks. There’s a distinction there. The bottom line is that oblique injuries are tough to predict, so let’s just see how Hart progresses.

UPDATE at 2:10 p.m. CT — The Brewers just announced that Hart would engage in “rest and recovery” for the next two weeks, so that’s a somewhat more serious take on his injury. Here’s an update to the earlier note:
Brewers right fielder Corey Hart will miss about two weeks of exhibition games while recovering from a strained muscle along his left rib cage, the club announced Monday. 
That marked a somewhat more serious diagnosis than the one Hart gave a few hours earlier, after he was examined by Dr. Craig Young at Maryvale Baseball Park. Hart said he only expected to be shut down “a few more days.” 
“I think it’s hard to tell exactly how long it’s going to be,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “But [assistant GM Gord Ash] said there is a strain there, and he wants to be overprotective of it. I was a little bummed when I heard two weeks.” 
Roenicke’s understanding is that Hart could be back playing in games in two weeks, not that he would be entirely shut down for that entire period. 
Hart was hurt during a throwing drill Saturday. He said it was the first time he’d tweaked an oblique muscle in his career. 
“[Young] said we would probably push it a little harder if we were in the middle of the season, but there’s no reason to push it right now,” Hart said. “We’re going to try easing in so we don’t have any setbacks at all.”
Hart’s duties on Monday were limited to receiving treatment in the training room. He was among the handful players on the injury report as the Brewers kicked off their exhibition schedule:
— Relievers John Axford (illness), Manny Parra (back), Zach Braddock (blister), LaTroy Hawkins (shoulder) and Mitch Stetter (undisclosed) were not on the list to pitch against the Giants of Cubs. Axford suffered a bout of food poisoning early in camp and has slowly been working back. Parra had some minor back stiffness last week and was scheduled to throw a live batting practice session on Monday. Braddock had a small blister last week that should not keep him out long, and Hawkins remains on schedule in his return from last year’s shoulder surgery. Manager Ron Roencike said only that Stetter was being brought along slowly this spring.
— Top pitching prospect Mark Rogers was very encouraged by a throwing session on Sunday and hopes to get back on the mound by mid-week. Rogers, who has a long injury history, shut down a live batting practice session last week because of some stiffness in his right shoulder. 
“I felt great yesterday playing long toss,” he said. “It’s the best I’ve felt all spring. We’re slowly working our way back into it. I’m sure a bullpen is in the near future. I’d guess in the next few days. So far, it’s responded better than I expected it to.” 
It’s difficult to sit around with the exhibition schedule underway. 
“I’ve got the itch,” Rogers said. “I want to pitch.”
— Infielder Mat Gamel remains restricted from hitting because of his own rib-cage strain. He’s been able to take part in fielding drills during his layoff. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is out with a fractured right pinkie finger. He has a doctor’s appointment for late this week to set a plan for rehab.
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Lucroy out with fractured finger

Brewers starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy suffered a fractured pinky finger on his throwing hand Wednesday as the injury bug bit Brewers camp in a big way. 

Lucroy suffered the injury during blocking drills during the team’s second full-squad workout and underwent x-rays, which revealed the fracture. He was to be further examined Wednesday afternoon by Dr. Don Sheridan, a hand specialist who has performed a series of surgeries on second baseman Rickie Weeks. 
After returning from his x-rays, Lucroy wore a splint on his right pinky. A Brewers spokesperson said he did not want to address reporters until after his visit with the specialist. 
“Unfortunately, these kinds of things happen in Spring Training,” said Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, the suddenly busy head of the team’s medical program.
In other injury news Wednesday:
— Right-hander Zack Greinke’s live batting practice session was pushed back at least one day because of a bruised rib-cage, but it’s considered very minor, Ash said. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz said he expects Greinke to throw on Thursday instead. 
“I plan on him throwing then,” Kranitz said. 
— Top pitching prospect Mark Rogers shut down his live BP session after feeling tightness in his twice surgically-repaired right shoulder. It’s something he’s been dealing with since the start of Spring Training. 
“In long toss I feel great, but letting it go, it’s a little it tight,” Rogers said. “I don’t want to push it now, and [the medical staff] said the same thing. Let’s err on the side of caution and stay healthy as opposed to having a setback. 
“I did a little extra work [on Tuesday] and I think that’s why it’s a little tight today. [Structurally], it’s all good, thank God. it’s not anywhere around where the surgery was and it’s a totally different feeling. I can throw 80 percent, but when I let it go it’s just a little bit tight.”
Because of his series of injuries, this is the first Spring Training since 2006 that Rogers is not on a restricted throwing program. 
“I’m lucky here because they know my history and let me take my time,” Rogers said. 
— Those setbacks came a few hours after the Brewers announced third baseman Mat Gamel would be held out of hitting drills for at least a week because of a rib-cage strain. For more on that, see the blog post from this morning.
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Gamel sidelined by oblique strain

Another spring, another ill-timed injury for Brewers prospect Mat Gamel. The Brewers said Wednesday morning that Gamel has a strained muscle along his right rib-cage and would not participate in hitting drills for seven days. 
Last year, Gamel might have made the Brewers’ Opening Day roster had he not suffered a minor tear to the “lat” muscle behind his right shoulder, an injury that ended up delaying the start of his Triple-A season. In 2009, Gamel missed time in camp with a sore throwing shoulder.
He called his current setback a minor one, and said he felt a tweak during batting practice on Tuesday. Gamel called the week off from hitting, “precautionary.”
As for his knack for spending Spring Training in the training room, he was at a loss. 
“I don’t know what’s going on, bro,” Gamel said Wednesday morning. “It’s just ridiculous though. I mean, I don’t know. It’s just a spell of some bad luck.”
Bad luck at a particularly bad time, Gamel conceded. 
“It’s killing me,” he said. 
While he questions his spate of injuries, he doesn’t question whether his offseason regimen has anything to do with it. Gamel spent the winter at home with his wife and two young children.
“It’s not a matter of not working out. This is the most I’ve worked out in the offseason, so it’s definitely not that,” he said. “It’s not a lack of anything — not a lack of stretching, not a lack of working out.”
This spring, the Brewers intend to use Gamel at a variety of positions and evaluate him for a spot on the bench. He’s primarily a third baseman, but is expected to also see action at first base and in the outfield corners. 
Gamel was able to take part in defensive drills Wednesday. 
“If it’s bugging him, we’ll back off the throwing,” manager Ron Roenicke said “The intercostals and the obliques, both of them, you can’t mess around. I know it’s a small area and they are little fibers that tear, but they can last a long time.” 
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Gamel in running for utility role

Onetime top Brewers prospect Mat Gamel was among the first Spring Training arrivals this year, and that’s a good thing He’s going to be busy.
Manager Ron Roenicke said Gamel would see spring action at the corner outfield spots and first base in addition to his usual duties at third base. He’ll be among the players considered for an Opening Day spot on the Brewers’ bench. 
“The guy can hit,” Roenicke said. “So if he can make us believe he can play a lot of positions, it helps him in making teams.”
Is he open to embracing that role?
“I haven’t have enough conversations to really know that answer,” Roenicke said, “but you would think that if you’re in his shoes, you would be open to anything.”
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Braun out of Brewers lineup

Left fielder Ryan Braun is not in the lineup for the opener of a four-game series of the Marlins that will mark the end of Milwaukee’s home season. Braun was struck near the left elbow with a pitch in Wednesday’s rout of the Reds, a plunking that conjured memories of the Tommy Hanson pitch that hit Braun’s elbow in May and sapped the All-Star’s power. 

With Braun out and the Brewers facing the non-contending Marlins, manager Ken Macha got creative with his lineup. Rickie Weeks is making his third start in the three-hole (the Brewers have lost the other two), Lorenzo Cain is making his second start as the leadoff man (0-1) and Mat Gamel will play his first career innings in the outfield. He’s replacing Braun in left field. 
Here’s the full lineup:

Lorenzo Cain  CF

Corey Hart  RF
Rickie Weeks  2B
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Mat Gamel  LF
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Luis Cruz  SS
Yovani Gallardo  RHP
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Gamel makes RF debut, will also play 1B

Brewers third base prospect Mat Gamel made his first career start in right field on Saturday for Triple-A Nashville, and it’s not the only new position being added to his repertoire. 

Gamel will continue to primarily play third base, but starts in right field and at first base will be “sprinkled” into his schedule, assistant general manager Gord Ash said, in an effort to speed Gamel’s ascension to the Majors and cover the Brewers in case they trade away right fielder Corey Hart or first baseman Prince Fielder. 
“You don’t want to limit your options,” Ash said. “I went there three weeks ago or so and we talked about the fact that in order for him to come to the big leagues and get at-bats, he’s going to have a play a few different places. So we’ve gone from the practice to games.”
Gamel has been practicing in the outfield and at first base for weeks. The Brewers are in the beginning stages of a similar project with 2008 first-round Draft pick Brett Lawrie, a primary second baseman. Lawrie has been taking grounders at third base and also working in the outfield. 
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Wright works a Triple-A gem

Left-hander Chase Wright tossed a complete-game, one-hit shutout to lead the Triple-A Nashville Sounds to a 9-0 rout of the division-leading Memphis Redbirds on Wednesday at Greer Stadium.
Wright allowed only a leadoff single to Jon Jay, who has spent some time this season with the Major-League Cardinals, in his third career shutout and first since 2007. Wright walked four batters and struck out four in his 111-pitch effort.
The complete-game shutout was the first by a Nashville hurler in four seasons, dating back to an Adam Pettyjohn seven-hit gem on July 30, 2007.
Third baseman Mat Gamel homered and drove in four runs as part of a 2-for-4 night to lead the Nashville offensive effort. Gamel continues to swing a hot bat, hitting .350 (28-for-80) over his last 21 games.
The win was the fifth shutout of the year for Nashville (35-31), which pulled back within a game of the division lead with its second straight victory.
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Lots of moves, plus lineup

Catching up after some trouble at the baggage claim…

— The Brewers voided right-hander Marco Estrada’s optional assignment on Friday and placed him on the Major League 15-day disabled list with shoulder fatigue. Estrada, who was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday, must have developed the problem during his time with the Brewers, and Major League rules state that you can’t option down injured players. The Brewers made a similar move earlier this year with righty Josh Butler, who had elbow trouble. 
— Right-hander Claudio Vargas was granted his unconditional release. The Brewers designated Vargas for assignment last weekend to clear a roster spot for Chris Capuano. 
— The Brewers reinstated infielder Mat Gamel from the 60-day DL and formally optioned him to Nashville. Gamel was already with the Sounds as he works back from a right shoulder/upper back injury. This move explains why infielder Adam Heether was waived earlier this week and subsequently claimed by the A’s.
— Oh yeah, there is a game tonight. The Brewers begin a three-game series against St. Louis and manager Ken Macha has left-hander Randy Wolf batting eighth for his second straight start. Here it is:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Jim Edmonds  CF
Corey Hart  RF
George Kottaras  C
Randy Wolf  LHP
Alcides Escobar  SS
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