Results tagged ‘ Mat Gamel ’

Gamel a scratch with sore shoulder

The Brewers scratched third baseman Mat Gamel from the lineup for Thursday’s Cactus League opener against the Giants after the prospect reported a sore right shoulder after batting practice. 
Casey McGehee, the projected Opening Day starter who was supposed to have Thursday off, played instead. Brewers manager Ken Macha said that Gamel’s injury was not considered serious but that he would get a few days off before trying to play. 
Gamel also missed some time early in camp last year with a sore right shoulder. 
The Brewers have remained relatively injury-free so far this spring, though Macha reported that right-handed pitching prospect Josh Butler continues to be stalled by a sore arm. Butler was penciled in to pitch either Friday or Saturday, but the club will instead give him a few more days to rest. 
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Report: Brewers, M's talked Gamel for Morrow says that the Brewers and Mariners had discussions this winter about a trade that would send right-hander Brandon Morrow to Milwaukee for third baseman Mat Gamel. The talks didn’t move forward, according to the report, but it cited a source saying the idea could be revisited later. 

There are a number of reasons why such a swap could make some sense:
  • The Mariners have needs at first base, third base and designated hitter, and while they could always bring back free agents Russell Branyan for first and Adrian Beltre for third, Gamel could be a fit at any of those spots. 
  • Gamel had a down year in 2009 as he bounced between Milwaukee and Triple-A Nashville, but Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is well aware of his offensive talents because Zduriencik is the one who, as Brewers amateur scouting director, drafted Gamel in the fourth round in 2005.
  • The Brewers’ need at third base was eased last season by the emergence of Casey McGehee, who didn’t begin playing every day until mid-May but still managed to lead all Major League rookies with 66 RBIs. At the moment, McGehee, who is under club control for five more seasons, is penciled-in as the starter, and Gamel seems more likely to return to Triple-A Nashville. 
  • The Brewers remainon the lookout for pitching, and Morrow fits the mold of what Melvin might be seeking. Morrow is still one season away from qualifying for arbitration, giving him four years of club control before free agency. The Brewers are running out of payroll space after signing a slew of free agents in the past two weeks, so any subsequent additions would have to be affordable. 
  • Perhaps Morrow is more available now that the Mariners have acquired Cliff Lee in the blockbuster, three-team trade with the Phillies and Blue Jays. The deal gives Zduriencik a pair of aces — Lee and right-hander Felix Hernandez — atop the starting rotation. 

Both teams have said publicly that they are not inclined to trade either player. Melvin was especially strong in that stance with Gamel prior to the 2009 nonwaiver trade deadline, when Gamel and fellow prospect Alcides Escobar drew interest from clubs. 
McGehee’s emergence may have eased Melvin’s “hands off” stance on Gamel, but there is at least some concern about McGehee’s right knee. After playing through pain all season, he had arthroscopic surgery in October to remove loose bodies from the joint, but assistant GM Gord Ash said the procedure offered no guarantees that McGehee won’t have more problems in the future. Gamel could provide some quality insurance. 
Then there’s the matter of whether the Brewers would part with one of their top prospects for Morrow, 25, who has started only 15 of his 131 appearances for the Mariners over the past three seasons and is 403 with a 4.42 ERA in those starts. The Brewers’ bullpen is all but set, so they would almost certainly view Morrow for the starting rotation.  
Gamel is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League. In his first 10 games he was hitting .229 with a home run and four RBIs. He was 0-for-3 on Thursday but walked and drove in a run.
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Heether injury is minor

Infielder Adam Heether, who was added to Milwaukee’s 40-man roster earlier this month and will compete for a job as a backup Brewers infielder next spring, returned home from the Venezuelan Winter League this week after he strained a rib-cage muscle. Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash called the injury — an intercostal strain — “very minor.”

The move made sense in part because another Brewers infielder is about to head in the opposite direction. Third base prospect Mat Gamel is getting married on Saturday and is scheduled to travel to Venezuela on the day after Thanksgiving for a stint in winter ball. Gamel will work out with the Caracas team for about five days before debuting in a game sometime in early December.


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Bill James sees solid season for Gamel

Just got an e-mail from stat guru Bill James‘ publisher and thought I would pass it along. It includes a positive prognostication for Mat Gamel — if he plays — but not so much for Rickie Weeks. Another 200-strikeout season for right-hander Yovani Gallardo but only 12 wins, and another struggle for lefty Manny Parra.

They key “if” in these projections is playing time. For example, the release offers projections for Gamel, Weeks and Casey McGehee assuming at least 425 at-bats for each, but it’s difficult to envision that scenario. James explains in his quote below.

Here’s the text:

In the recently-released Bill James Handbook 2010, baseball guru Bill James projects the 2010 seasons for players on the Milwaukee Brewers — and predicts a potentially solid year from third baseman Mat Gamel.

“In any season, the vast majority of players play in a manner that seems a natural extension of what they had done before,” James says in his new book. “When that happens, our projection should be reasonably accurate.”

Although he’s been in the projection business for almost twenty years, one thing James has no control over is playing time. “It is always my argument that we have no chance of figuring out, in October 2009, who will get playing time in 2010,” James says. “But what we should do is try to answer this question: If this player plays, how will he play?”

With this in mind, here are the five key Milwaukee hitters for 2010, according to the new Bill James Handbook 2010:

Key Brewers Hitters (by OPS)
Player                   At-bats     R     HR    RBI     SB     Avg.    OPS
Ryan Braun             615     112     39    119      17     .315    .972
Prince Fielder          601     103     44    124       3      .286    .967
Mat Gamel              455      65      17     73       3      .277    .817
Rickie Weeks          425      80      16     48      14     .259    .807
Casey McGehee      492      63      15     76       0      .272    .757

Projecting stats for pitchers is very different from projecting offensive stats for hitters. “We used to believe that pitching performance was much, much less predictable than batter performance,” James says. “This is probably still true…due to injuries and other factors. Sometimes a pitcher gets hurt, and when that happens our projections for him are knocked into a cocked hat.”

Here are the three key Milwaukee pitchers for 2010, according to the new Bill James Handbook 2010:

Key Brewers Pitchers (by ERA)
Player                       IP     W    L     K      SV    ERA
Trevor Hoffman         63     4     3     57     39     2.43
Yovani Gallardo       186    12    8     205     0     3.53
Manny Parra           147     7     9     130     0     4.59

The complete projections for the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers can be found in the Bill James Handbook 2010.

For further information on the Bill James Handbook 2010 go to


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Gamel commits to Venezuelan winter league

Third baseman Mat Gamel has finalized his plans to play winter ball in Caracas, Venezuela, beginning right after Thanksgiving. It’s going to be a hectic winter, because Gamel also has plans to marry his girlfriend, Julianne, on Nov. 21. The couple had a daughter during Spring Training.

“She understands how important this is, how important in the club’s eyes it is for me to go,” Gamel said. “This game is about sacrifice, and so is marriage. I have to go down there to get some at-bats.”

Among Gamel’s Caracas teammates will be infielder Adam Heether, who spent most of 2009 at Triple-A Nashville.

Gamel gets a start

Mat Gamel is making his first start today since returning to the Brewers for September as the team aims to split its four-game series with the Cubs. He’ll team on the left side of the infield with Alcides Escobar, a potential preview of 2010 if the Brewers decide against using J.J. Hardy at shortstop and Casey McGehee at third.

(Remember J.J. Hardy? Used to wear No. 7 for the Brewers? Tough to find playing time for him if Escobar is going to have games like last night — 4-for-5, three RBIs, two defensive gems.)

Felipe Lopez  2B
Jody Gerut  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Mike Cameron  CF
Mat Gamel  3B
Mike Rivera  C
Alcides Escobar SS
Dave Bush  RHP

Speaking of Escobar’s big Wednesday night, here’s a note from Brewers PR boss Mike Vassallo: The last four rookies to have four-hit games at Wrigley Field are all Brewers. Escobar and Casey McGehee this season, Braun in 2007 and Alex Sanchez in 2002.

Hart off DL, Gamel recalled

The Brewers made a pair of expected roster moves on Tuesday morning, activating right-fielder Corey Hart off the disabled list and recalling third baseman Mat Gamel from Triple-A Nashville. Hart has not played in the Majors since Aug. 1, the day before he underwent an appendectomy, but as I wrote in my preview of tonight’s Brewers-Cardinals game, it didn’t take him long to get in the swing of things at Triple-A Nashville.

Gamel struggled for Nashville after a midseason stint in the Majors, but rallied late in the season to finish with a respectable .278 batting average. Brewers officials will have to decide this winter whether he’s ready to make the jump to the big leagues, but fellow third baseman Casey McGehee is playing so well right now that playing time this month could be tough to get.

Hart, Gamel slated as final Crew call-ups

The Brewers are expected to recall third baseman Mat Gamel from Triple-A Nashville after Monday’s game but will wait until Tuesday to activate right-fielder Corey Hart from the disabled list. It appears that righty John Axford, promoted from Nashville on Monday morning, will be the final pitcher called-up. 

The team wants to be sure that Hart is OK after a four-game rehabilitation assignment with Nashville. He has been on the disabled list since Aug. 2, when Hart underwent an appendectomy in San Diego.

Brewers still pushing for Halladay

If the Brewers are indeed “basically out” of the running for Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, as one national baseball writer wrote on Twitter, it would be news to Milwaukee’s general manager.

“I haven’t been told that we’re out,” Doug Melvin said Friday, when the Brewers began a homestand that takes them to within 24 hours of the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline. “I was never told that we’re in, either.

“I don’t want to get into who we’re talking to and when we’ve talked. It’s all part of the negotiations.”

After acquiring second baseman Felipe Lopez from the Diamondbacks on Sunday — Lopez missed a second straight start Friday because of a hamstring strain but will be installed as the everyday leadoff hitter once he’s healthy — Melvin’s focus is bolstering a shaky starting rotation that ranked 15th of the 16 National League teams and 27th of the 30 Major League teams with a 4.96 ERA entering the weekend.  Young left-hander Manny Parra entered his Friday start against the Braves riding a series of successful starts following a demotion to Triple-A Nashville, but right-hander Dave Bush remained sidelined by a right triceps injury and fellow righty Mike Burns has been too inconsistent.

Burns is lined up to start on Tuesday against the Nationals, but the Brewers are poised to bump him from the rotation. If Melvin doesn’t make a trade before then, right-hander Tim Dillard will be promoted from Nashville.

The Phillies are widely considered the chief suitor for Halladay, a right-hander who started for the Blue Jays on Friday night. Philadelphia ranked just three spots above the Brewers among NL teams with a 4.74 starters’ ERA. The Dodgers and Red Sox have also been mentioned as suitors.

According to’s Danny Knobler, the Brewers fell out of the running for Halladay because they were unwilling to part with Mat Gamel or Alcides Escobar — considered Milwaukee’s top two prospects — to land Halladay. Knobler also reported that scouts from the Brewers and Red Sox left Toronto ahead of Halladay’s start against the Rays at Rogers Centre while Phillies special assistant Charley Kerfeld stayed to watch.

Asked to characterize the market one week before the deadline, Melvin called it, “quiet.” That’s probably because the top available pitchers either have one year left on their contract or an expensive option following this season — Halladay, Cleveland’s Cliff Lee, San Diego’s Jake Peavy and Arizona’s Jon Garland all fit that category — and thus will command extra in a trade. The list of pending free agents is shorter, and it includes Arizona’s Doug Davis and Seattle’s Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn.

Melvin has been in contact with Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, who until last fall was Milwaukee’s amateur scouting director, but Zduriencik is hesitant to deal because Seattle is a surprising contender; seven games over .500 and 5 1/2 games out of first place in the American League West entering play Friday.

Brewers officials, meanwhile, have debated internally whether it’s worth digging into the farm system for a second straight season — CC Sabathia cost four prospects last year including 2007 first-round Draft pick Matt LaPorta — to acquire a front-line pitcher. That debate is ongoing, Melvin said. 

“It depends what you get, and what you give up,” Melvin said. “That’s what it really comes down to. What you get, what you give up, and how you’re playing at the time that you do it. …

“We’ve still got a good team,” Melvin added. “We just have to put it together. We have to put some consistency together and have a little winning streak.”

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.

Then, Gamel.

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.”