Results tagged ‘ Mat Gamel ’

Capuano close to a comeback

Look for an “inbox” to appear on Brewers.com later today with some of your questions about the first two weeks of the season. Topics include the team’s early-season pitching struggles, Carlos Gomez and Triple-A infielder Adam Heether, plus some injury updates.
I thought I would preview that final topic because it involves left-hander Chris Capuano, a player many of you have been following as he attempts to return from his second Tommy John surgery:
On an off day, it might be good to update us Brewer fans about some injuries. How far away are Chris Capuano and David Riske from coming back? How about in the Minors with Adam Stern, Brendan Katin and Mat Gamel all on the disabled list? Just wanted to get an idea on timetable and how far the guys are in their rehab or how serious the injuries are.
– Jordan K., no hometown
Thanks to Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash for some answers to Jordan’s e-mail. The main bit of news from Gord is that the left-hander Capuano, who had a bit of a Spring Training setback in his return from Tommy John elbow surgery, is “close” to returning to game action and could be activated before the end of this week. The team would then have to decide where to send Capuano to pitch, with warm-weather Brevard County, Fla. (home of the organization’s advanced Class A affiliate) one strong contender. Capuano looked extremely sharp before his setback, so let’s not count him out to help the big club just yet. 
Riske is also coming back from Tommy John surgery but remains well behind Capuano. According to Ash, Riske is on track to begin a 30-day rehabilitation assignment around the end of April. 
Stern (rib-cage strain) is about two weeks away from returning to action and Gamel (shoulder) is still about a month away, according to Ash. Gamel might have made the Brewers’ Opening Day roster if he had not suffered a slightly torn muscle behind his right — throwing — shoulder. 
The Brewers are still evaluating Katin, Ash said. The outfielder was off to a tremendously hot start for Triple-A Nashville (four homers and nine RBIs in nine games) before he suffered a foot injury on Friday. It’s too early to know how much time he will miss, according to the team.
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Gamel on injury: 'It stinks'

Before last February, Brewers prospect Mat Gamel never had an injury more serious than a sprained ankle. He picked a bad time to catch the bug.  
The Brewers announced Thursday that Gamel would be shut down for about six weeks with a torn muscle behind his right shoulder, and it could be eight or nine weeks before he’s back to 100 percent. On Friday, Gamel’s last morning in the big league clubhouse at Maryvale Baseball Park, he spoke about his latest setback. 
“It stinks,” he said. “But it could be worse. I just have to deal with it and get better. It’s real disappointing, but people have setbacks in this game.”  
Gamel has had setbacks in each of his two big league Spring Training camps. Last year, he also missed time with a sore right shoulder, though this injury is different.  
The official word is that Gamel was hurt taking swings in early batting practice just before the start of Cactus League play. But he wondered aloud Friday whether he might have suffered the injury earlier on a throw and simply aggravated it on a swing.  
“I never felt anything pop or tear, I just felt a lot of tightness in that part of my arm,” Gamel said.  
Gamel tried to rehabilitate the injury but was sent for an MRI scan on Wednesday that revealed the tear. He said he wished he had been sent for testing earlier. “But it’s done, so all you can do is rehab it,” Gamel said.  
Gamel will do so at the team’s Minor League complex. He is to report there beginning Saturday morning. 
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Gamel has 'lat' tear, could miss two months

An MRI scan on Wednesday revealed that Brewers third base prospect Mat Gamel has what the team termed a “slight” tear in his latissimus dorsi, the large muscle behind the right shoulder. Brewers spokesperson Mike Vassallo reported that the team expects Gamel to be restricted for six weeks. 

“Then he has to get ready for games from there, so we could be talking about closer to eight to nine weeks total before he’s 100 percent,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. 
Gamel suffered the injury during batting practice early in camp and missed the first three days of Cactus League play. He started a March 8 game against the Mariners but was forced to exit in the third inning because of the shoulder.
Many Brewers fans know the “lat” muscle well because it’s what sidelined Ben Sheets at the end of the 2005 season and caused him trouble into 2006. Sheets, though, had a much more significant tear and the muscle pulled away from the bone.
In Gamel’s case, according to Ash, the tear is much less severe and is located in the middle of the muscle. 
“This is much less significant than Ben’s was. This is more like Gabe Kapler’s,” said Ash, referring to the then-Brewers outfielder who was injured on a throw in 2008. 
Injured players who logged Major League time in the previous season cannot be optioned to the Minor Leagues, so Gamel will almost certainly begin the season on the Brewers’ 15-day disabled list. With two games on Thursday’s schedule — an afternoon B game against the Rangers and then the regularly-scheduled evening A game — Brewers officials have not yet discussed whether Gamel will do his rehabilitation in the Major League clubhouse or head over to the team’s Minor League complex.
“It will depend on what will help him get better in the most efficient manner,” Ash said.
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Injury hampers Gamel's big-league bid

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.”
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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. 
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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. 
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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.”
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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
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Gomez working on his swing (with some data)

Brewers manager Ken Macha said Carlos Gomez has been tweaking his swing to produce more ground balls. The key for the speedy center fielder is keeping his lead elbow low, and thus keeping the bat head from dropping down.
“Yesterday’s batting practice, I thought he swung the bat as well as he has this spring,” Macha said. “We want him to get it on the ground, but I don’t want him to conscious about it. … A lot of the balls he hit in batting practice were hard and low.”
Macha asked his statistical gurus to prepare a report of Gomez’s success on fly balls, line drives, ground balls and bunts. It bore out what Macha suspected, that he would be well-served to avoid hitting everything in the air. 
Here’s the data, courtesy of Brewers manager of advance scouting and baseball research Karl Mueller:
Career batting average by batted ball type… 
Ground Balls – .268 (306 put in play)
Line Drives – .631 (123 put in play)
Fly Balls – .195 (261 put in play)
Bunts – .446 (102 put in play, 10 of which were sacrifices)
It’s no surprise that the line drive average is so high. The Major League average is about .700.
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Macha repeated what closer Trevor Hoffman said Tuesday, that there’s no reason to worry about the fact he has yet to appear in a Cactus League game. Hoffman is taking it easy this spring to avoid a situation like the one that emerged last year, when he strained a rib-cage muscle. 
Hoffman threw a bullpen session on Monday and said he could debut in a game at some point next week. 
“Myself, personally, it’s not a concern for me right now,” Macha said. “He’s got plenty of time to get ready.”
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Third baseman Mat Gamel remained a “non-participant,” to borrow Macha’s phrase, on Wednesday as he tries to quiet a sore shoulder. Outfielder Trent Oeltjen (wrist) has been taking swings in the batting cage at 75-80 percent, Macha said, and was to see one of the team’s doctors on Wednesday. So was right-hander Josh Butler, who has a sore right elbow or triceps. 
Butler had a cortisone shot several days ago and conceded that unless he gets back to throwing very soon, he might miss out on Cactus League action. 
“It’s going to be close,” Butler said. “Hopefully I can [pitch in a game] but the biggest thing right now is getting healthy.”
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The Brewers play split-squad games on Thursday and again on Saturday, so third base coach Brad Fischer made a point in the team’s morning meeting of telling players to make sure they know where they are going over the next few days. 
This early in camp, the extra games are a good thing, at least from a pitching perspective. The Brewers say they are considering seven men for the starting rotation, and this week lines up such that Chris Narveson can pitch on the road against the Reds on Thursday while Randy Wolf works against the A’s at home, and Dave Bush and Manny Parra can each start a game on Saturday, when the Brewers play at home against Colorado and on the road at the White Sox. 
“We’ve got a large number [of pitchers] in camp and we’ve got a big competition in the starting [rotation] so we’ve been able to slot guys,” Macha said. 
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Gamel sidelined a few more days

Third baseman Mat Gamel conceded this morning that he tried to come back too early from a sore right shoulder. Now it appears he will be sidelined a few more days. 

Gamel first complained of some soreness last week and was held out of Cactus League games for the first three days of the schedule. He said he was ready to play by Saturday but was asked to wait, then got an extra day of rest Sunday. when the Brewers-Reds game was rained out. So it came as some surprise to manager Ken Macha that Gamel was forced to exit Monday’s game against the Mariners in the third inning with a sore shoulder. 
“I guess it’s not ready yet,” Gamel said. “It was feeling better. I guess I just rushed it. … But it’s better to miss a couple now than a couple later.”
He would have preferred to not miss any at all. Gamel also missed time last spring with a sore throwing shoulder — he says this injury is different — and then saw his numbers slip after the Brewers began bouncing him between Triple-A and the big league bench beginning in May. 
Officially, Gamel is competing for a spot on the big league roster this spring and he remains the team’s top option behind incumbent starter Casey McGehee. There is some pressure, then, to be out on the field. 
“You can’t make a team in the training room,” he lamented. “They need you healthy.”
Macha agreed. 
“Let’s make sure we nip this in the bud so he can give himself a chance,” Macha said. “If it happens again and he’s going to be out two weeks, we’ve got coverage. We’ve got other guys we can put on the team.”
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Assuming we stay dry, here is the lineup for today’s game against the Cubs:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Craig Counsell   SS
Carlos Gomez  CF
Prince Fielder  1B
Jim Edmonds  LF
Jody Gerut  RF
Adam Heether  3B
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Jeff Suppan  RHP
The pitchers scheduled to follow Suppan include Marco Estrada, Chuck Lofgren, John Halama, Claudio Vargas and A.J. Murray. 
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Lucroy is starting today but Macha has been focusing lately on evaluating George Kottaras and Matt Treanor, who may have a leg up on the backup catcher battle. 
“They each give you a little bit different look,” Macha said. “Kottaras, watching him take [batting practice], he’s got pretty sizeable power when he gets hold of one and he’s a left-handed hitter, which is nice to have. … Treanor, I really like the way he throws the ball and blocks the ball in the dirt. So you’ve got two kind of different styles, or what they bring to the table is a little different.”
What will influence Macha’s decision?
“I want to take a look and see what Zaun does as the spring goes on,” he said. “That may be a determining factor. I’m open if a guy goes out there and is head and shoulders above everybody.”
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Macha offered praise for Minor League first baseman Steffan Wilson, who garnered a last-minute invitation to big league camp to help back up Fielder at first base. 
“He’s been impressive,” Macha said. “Intense guy. He was taking his warm-up swings and he’s looking like Mike Sweeney more every day. Big, strong first baseman. Hits the ball all over the ballpark.”
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Lockers stood empty Tuesday morning where pitching prospects Eric Arnett, Kyle Heckathorn and Alex Periard had dressed. All three pitchers were cut from big league camp on Monday to continue their preparation on the Minor League side. Macha said that Monday morning’s B game prevented pitching coach Rick Peterson from giving the young men a proper send-off, but Peterson planned to stop by the Minor League complex for a chat.
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Shoulder sidelines Gamel again

Brewers third baseman Mat Gamel took a line drive off the knee in the first inning of Monday’s game against the Mariners at Maryvale Baseball Park. But that’s not what knocked him out of the game two innings later.

Gamel exited with a sore right shoulder, the same problem he reported last week before he was held out of the team’s first three Cactus League game days. He also had shoulder soreness last spring but said the other day that the current problem is different.

Brewers manager Ken Macha wouldn’t hazard a guess as to how long Gamel would be out.

“We have to get this nipped in the bud,” Macha said.

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Game day?

Maryvale Baseball Park is in wait and see mode this morning while rain falls in Phoenix. What is it about rainy weekends this spring?

The weather forced the Brewers to move their morning stretch into the covered batting cages, and manager Ken Macha and pitching coach Rick Peterson are making contingency plans should the game be washed out. Macha met with with reporters in his office and here’s what’s happening in camp:
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The most important thing, Macha said, was keeping scheduled starter Doug Davis on schedule. He is to make his Brewers debut today against the Reds, and should Mother Nature intervene Davis would instead throw a two-inning simulated game. The Brewers have covered bullpen for these contingencies.
Peterson would have to do some shuffling with the relievers scheduled to follow Davis. They are Todd Coffey, John Axford, Zach Braddock and Scott Schoeneweis. 
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Here’s the lineup posted this morning:

Alcides Escobar  SS

Jody Gerut  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Jim Edmonds  CF
Mat Gamel  3B
Gregg Zaun  C
Hernan Iribarren  2B
Doug Davis  LHP
Gamel would make his first Cactus League appearance. He complained of a sore right shoulder the other day but was back at full strength on Saturday. 
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Outfielder Trent Oeltjen said he was relieved that the x-rays on his bruised left wrist came back negative on Saturday. Oeltjen was supposed to participate in outfield drills Sunday before the rain dashed those plans, but he won’t resume swinging the bat until Monday. 
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As of Sunday morning, Macha was not ready to name his starting pitcher for Monday’s game against the Mariners at Maryvale Baseball Park. Right-hander Dave Bush and left-hander Manny Parra are each scheduled for two innings.
“We haven’t decided [who will go first],” Macha said. “Rick and I are going to talk about it and then we’ll tell one of them. We don’t want anybody to read anything into anything.”
Macha will not face the same conundrum next time. Bush and Parra are lined up to pitch again on Saturday, March 13, when the Brewers have split-squad games against the Rockies at Maryvale and against the White Sox in Glendale. 
Is Macha trying to downplay the competition?
“Why put so much pressure on the guy like that?” Macha said. “Just go out and pitch good, that’s all.”
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Macha was still singing left-hander Chris Capuano’s praises on Sunday, a day after Capuano pitched his first Major League game in nearly two years. He continues to mention Capuano as a legitimate candidate for the Opening Day roster. 
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Jim Edmonds made Macha chuckle the other day. 
“I asked him if he had a first baseman’s mitt because it would be nice to have a backup first baseman on the roster,” Macha said. “He says, ‘When you watch me run these balls down in center field, you’re going to like what you see out there.’ 
“I told him I’ve already seen that. I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but he came up with the Angels when I was there [as a coach]. He was a brash rookie then, and not a whole lot has changed. Just take the rookie out of there. That’s good. You want guys to have that type of feeling about themselves.”
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Morning report

Some notes from Ken Macha’s morning meeting with reporters:

All of a sudden the Brewers have quite a little medical report, though all of the bumps and bruises Macha ran through on Friday were considered minor. Here are some of them:
- Third baseman Mat Gamel, scratched from Thursday’s Cactus League opener because of a sore right shoulder, was to take some swings off a tee on Friday morning and was tentatively listed to travel with the split-squad headed to Tucson on Saturday to play the Rockies. But Macha cautioned that the assignment could change based on how Gamel felt later Friday. 
- Josh Butler (triceps) was scheduled for a 40-pitch bullpen session and Kyle Heckathorn (rib cage) was to throw some live batting practice on Friday. The Brewers are taking a very cautious approach with both right-handed pitching prospects early in camp, and that was fine with Butler. 
“I never had to stop throwing because of this; they’re just taking it easy on me,” said Butler, who knocked on wood after saying he had so far avoided major arm injuries in his career. “There is still so much time left in Spring Training. It’s frustrating not to go play in these games right now, but it will happen. There’s no reason to rush it.”
Butler will get into a Cactus League game at some point but Macha still won’t completely commit about Heckathorn, who was the Brewers’ supplemental first-round Draft pick last year.
Macha also said that organizational newcomer Marco Estrada, another right-hander, was dealing with a minor neck issue but was to play catch on Friday. If that went well, Estrada would be scheduled to pitch against the Rockies in Tucson.
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Speaking of that game, Eric Arnett, the Brewers’ first selection in last year’s Draft, is also on the list for Tucson and Macha would like to see him get into the game late. If he does, the skipper will see the raw right-hander in person; Macha is going to travel with the road crew instead of staying home to see Randy Wolf lead another split-squad against the Giants. 
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Jim Edmonds was penciled in to start in right field on Friday against the A’s for his unofficial Brewers debut. Macha is not quite ready to commit to how much playing time Edmonds will see this spring, but expects to use him at all three outfield positions and at first base. I’ll have more on Edmonds a bit later today. 
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Today’s starting lineup against the A’s looks like this. Macha was at first considering a day off for Gomez, but bench coach Willie Randolph suggested they keep him in:
Weeks  2B
Gomez  CF
Braun  LF
Edmonds  RF
Zaun  DH
Kottaras  C
Escobar  SS
Heether  3B
Wilson  1B
Gallardo  P
Other pitchers on the travel roster include Tim Dillard, LaTroy Hawkins, A.J. Murray, Mark Rogers, Mitch Stetter and Carlos Villanueva.
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Emptying Thursday's notebook

Some final notes after a 5-3 loss to the Giants in Scottsdale…

Jeff Suppan threw fastballs and changeups in an uneventful six-up, six-down spring debut and was happy with his afternoon. He focused on spotting his fastball and keeping his change-up low in the strike zone. 
“I felt good,” he said. “My goal was to go out and get ahead. That was No. 1. No. 2, I wanted to have a good downhill plane. I felt like I accomplished that.”
Suppan had to do a double-take when Giants starter Barry Zito drilled Prince Fielder with a pitch. (You can read some more about that later on Brewers.com.) 
“I was like, ‘What?’ I had to think what happened,” Suppan said. “Then, I remembered.”
Macha called the Zito-Fielder incident a, “non-issue.”
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Macha found a number of silver linings to the afternoon, and one of them didn’t show up in the box score. In Weeks’ second at-bat, he checked his swing on a Todd Wellemeyer pitch in the dirt without any complications. That was something of a big deal to Macha considering that Weeks is returning from a 2009 season mostly lost to wrist surgery. Weeks was injured on a check swing last year, Macha said. 
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Ryan Braun should make his spring debut on Friday after getting Thursday afternoon off but Macha couldn’t say for sure whether shortstop Alcides Escobar would start. Escobar had two root canals on Thursday (ouch) and has another dentist appointment scheduled for next week. 
On Friday, we should be able to provide more of an injury report on third baseman Mat Gamel, who was scratched Thursday because of a sore right shoulder, and pitcher Josh Butler, who has been bumped back a bit because of his own sore right arm. 
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Macha cautioned against reading too much into center fielder Carlos Gomez hitting second on Thursday. “We had problems with our two- and our five-hole last year, so we’ll give some [different] guys a chance to go out there,” Macha said. 
Speaking of the outfield, look for Jim Edmonds to get the start in center field or right field on Friday against the A’s. It’s Ben Sheets against Yovani Gallardo, whose contract was renewed Thursday, at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. If you have MLB.com’s gameday audio package, you can listen to the exclusive webcast at Brewers.com. Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder will step behind the mic for the first time this year. 
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