Results tagged ‘ Mat Gamel ’

Would Gamel be better off at Triple-A?

Casey McGehee has forced himself into the Brewers’ everyday lineup, in turn forcing club officials to reconsider whether third base prospect Mat Gamel might be better served by a return to Triple-A Nashville.

“We’ll talk about hat internally,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. “That’s not something we would discuss publicly, but you’re always having discussions. It’s probably something you look at from a series-by-series standpoint.”

Gamel , promoted from Nashville on May 14 ahead of Interleague Play, was on the bench for the fifth time in six games on Tuesday, mostly because the Brewers were facing left-handed Mets ace Johan Santana in the second of a three-game series. But Gamel, who bats left-handed, has seen his playing time decrease of late against righties because of the emergence of McGehee, who entered play Tuesday with a .370 average, five home runs and 20 RBIs over his last 20 games.

McGehee, not Gamel, started at third base on Monday against Mets right-hander Fernando Nieve. He dropped a pop-up in the top of the sixth inning and contributed to two unearned runs, then belted a grand slam in the bottom of the inning.

“You have to put the lineup out there you think is going to win, and Casey deserves his time,” manager Ken Macha said. “But you also have to have a view of what the organization is going to look like long-term. [Gamel] has gotten a taste here. We’ll see what happens here from now until the All-Star break.”

Macha hinted that the Brewers could make a decision after their four-game series in Chicago ends on Sunday. If they decide to keep Gamel in the Major Leagues, they could explore sending him to the Arizona Fall League or to a Winter League to get at-bats and innings at third base.

Gamel hitting in two-hole

It seems like Brewers manager Ken Macha has had more trouble filling the two-hole this season than any other spot. Tonight, Mat Gamel will give it a try.

Gamel will become the eighth different Brewer to start a game at that position in the order when the Brewers try to snap a four-game skid against Nick Blackburn and the Twins at Miller Park. Here are the others, with the team’s record in their two-hole starts: Corey Hart (12-10), J.J. Hardy (12-8), Craig Counsell (7-4), Casey McGehee (3-7), Bill Hall (2-2), Frank Catalanotto (0-2) and Chris Duffy (1-0).

And here’s the lineup:

Craig Counsell  2B
Mat Gamel  3B
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Corey Hart  RF
Mike Cameron  CF
J.J. Hardy SS
Jason Kendall  C
Braden Looper  RHP

With Mike Burns scheduled to make his first Major League start on Thursday, the Brewers badly need Braden Looper to pitch deep into the game tonight. That hasn’t been the trend for the Brewers, who led the Majors with 25 so-called “quality starts” over their first 39 games but have produced just eight over their last 31 games through Tuesday.

AND ONE MORE THING…  The pre-game media notes still have “TBA” listed to start for the Brewers on Saturday. He stinks, so I’m guessing that Macha will name someone — Seth McClung, anyone? — today to take that turn. If he does that while we’re down on the field, I’ll post a note on Twitter

Melvin planning to hold Escobar, Gamel

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin parted with his top prospect to land an ace last July, but sounds hesitant to do so again this summer.

Third baseman Mat Gamel and shortstop Alcides Escobar aren’t exactly off-limits, but Melvin said on Tuesday that he did not expect to trade either young player to acquire a pitcher before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.

“I find that almost impossible,” Melvin said. “You never say never, but it’s not my focus at all. Young players are valuable, you know? You talk about teams looking for hitting, and shortstops are so valuable. If you don’t have one, you can go years without having one.”

Gamel is proving valuable, too. He was hitting .336 at Triple-A Nashville before a promotion to Milwaukee last month, and will remain in the Majors even though the Brewers won’t need to employ a designated hitter for the rest of the regular season. Gamel went 7-for-23 (.304) on the Brewers just-completed road trip.

Escobar has spent the entire year at Nashville and was hitting .295 with 27 stolen bases and 53 runs scored through his first 71 games this season.

But Melvin proved last season that he’s not afraid of making a splash. He included then-top prospect Matt LaPorta in the package of players that lured CC Sabathia from the Indians, a trade that propelled Milwaukee to its first postseason appearance in 26 years.

This year, he’s shopping again. The Brewers placed Dave Bush on the disabled list Tuesday with a triceps injury and will keep Manny Parra at Nashville for the foreseeable future. That leaves two holes in the rotation.

But with so many clubs still considering themselves contenders, the trade market is quiet.

“You don’t have that many clubs call,” Melvin said. “I talked to a GM today and it’s probably the first one I’ve talked to, about players or what we’re doing, in 10 days or so. It’s not like it’s a daily routine.”

Gamel back in the lineup vs. Reds

Brewers manager Ken Macha is going with lefty hitter Mat Gamel at third base against Johnny Cueto and the Reds at Miller Park tonight. Gamel is hitless in his last 14 at-bats, but left-handed hitters have had slightly better success against the tough Cueto (.226 average, .711 OPS) than right-handed hitters (.202, .513).

Here are the lineups for the opener of a three-game set:

Willy Taveras  CF
Jerry Hairston Jr.  2B
Joey Votto  1B
Ramon Hernandez  C
Jay Bruce  RF
Laynce Nix  LF
Alex Gonzalez  SS
Adam Rosales  3B
Johnny Cueto  RHP

Craig Counsell  2B
J.J. Hardy  SS
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Mike Cameron  CF
Mat Gamel  3B
Corey Hart  RF
Jason Kendall  C
Braden Looper  RHP

Gamel, not Hall starts at 3B

Are we seeing the real start of the Mat Gamel era in Milwaukee today?  Manager Ken Macha is playing Gamel at third base today against the Cards’ Chris Carpenter and leaving Hall on the bench, the surest sign yet that the manager is running out of patience with Hall’s struggles against right-handed pitching.

Skip Schumaker  2B
Colby Rasmus  CF
Albert Pujols  1B
Chris Duncan  LF
Nick Stavinoha  RF
Yadier Molina  C
Joe Thurston  3B
Chris Carpenter  RHP
Brendan Ryan  SS

Craig Counsell SS
Casey McGehee  2B
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Mike Cameron  CF
Mat Gamel  3B
Corey Hart  RF
Jason Kendall  C
Yovani Gallardo  RHP

Gwynn's former teammates on trade

Some comments from Tony Gwynn Jr.’s former Brewers teammates on today’s trade:

“I think if there’s any place he can go and be successful, he found it
[in San Diego],” closer Trevor Hoffman said. “He’ll be admired, and it’s almost like
he’s one of their own because he grew up in their clubhouse.”

Hoffman last spoke to Gwynn in April during a rehabilitation assignment with Nashville. That was after Gwynn expressed his disappointment about being removed from the 40-man roster.

“To Anthony’s credit, the four days I was with him in Memphis he was
very determined to do things right and prove Milwaukee wrong, prove to
other teams that he belonged in the big leagues,” Hoffman said. “I
admired the way he was going about it.”

Mat Gamel: “You never saw signs of disappointment,” said Gamel, who was Gwynn’s Triple-A teammate until a promotion to Milwaukee last week. “He was a positive guy, seemed to always find the best in any situation. I had a lot of long talks with Tony about everything, life in general and the game of baseball. [On the field], he was really the pace-setter for us.” 

Prince Fielder: “I’m happy for him,” said Fielder, Gwynn’s closest Brewers teammate. “I bet he’s happy. I thought he played well at [Nashville] and really stayed focused. It’s a credit to him, a show of how professional he is.”

Macha: Gamel '09 could look like Fielder '05

How does a guy hit .354 in Spring Training and then go 0-for-21 to start the regular season? Brad Nelson would love to know the answer to that question.

The one-time Brewers top prospect will have to mull that riddle somewhere else beginning Thursday. The Brewers removed him from the 40-man roster and outrighted him to Triple-A Nashville following a win over the Marlins in which Nelson didn’t appear, clearing a spot for third base prospect Mat Gamel.

Gamel will arrive from Nashville in time for Thursday’s series finale and will be used similarly to Prince Fielder when Fielder made his Major League debut in 2005. The Brewers play their first Interleague Series in Minnesota on May 22-24, and Gamel could serve as the designated hitter. Until then, he will probably be limited to pinch-hit duties.

“He may get a start, we’ll see,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha, who paused when asked if he felt comfortable with playing Gamel at third base. “He’s had some errors down there, [eight] errors. I thought in Spring Training he wasn’t really terrible out there.

“The reports are that if he just has to react on the ball, he ends up making a good play. Most of his errors have been balls hit right at him and he has to think about what he’s going to do with the ball.”

Gamel might be returned to Triple-A after Interleague Play so he can continue to get regular at-bats.

“This guy is our top prospect, so I don’t have any plans to have him sitting on the bench,” Macha said.

Nelson, meanwhile, can reject his Triple-A assignment because this is his second outright. He has three days to decide, and Nelson said he will remain in Milwaukee in the meantime.

Hardy exits with alarming symptoms

Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy hopes he made a preemptive strike against a looming migraine headache.

Hardy exited Wednesday’s win over the Marlins in the seventh inning after experiencing some alarming symptoms. He said he played his final half-inning with very little vision in his left eye and numbness in his left hand, which doctors said were precursors to a headache.

“I’m hoping I took the medicine before the migraine kicks in,” Hardy said.

He hit an RBI triple in the second inning, and made the second and third outs in Milwaukee’s 11-batter, five-run fourth. Hardy exited the game in the top of the seventh as part of a Brewers double-switch, with Craig Counsell moving from third base to shortstop and Bill Hall entering the game to play third.

The Brewers will have additional coverage beginning Thursday should Hardy miss a game or two. Third base prospect Mat Gamel was promoted from Triple-A Nashville, and while he’s likely to be limited to pinch-hitter or designated-hitter duties, he also could play third in a pinch to free Counsell for shortstop.

Brewers release Nixon; option Gamel

The Brewers released veteran outfielder Trot Nixon on Wednesday in their latest round of roster cuts. 

The team also optioned third baseman Mat Gamel, one of its top prospects, to Triple-A Nashville, and announced that recently-acquired reliever Wes Littleton had cleared waivers and been optioned to Nashville. Littleton, though, will remain in camp, ostensibly to compete for a bullpen job. 

Nixon signed a Minor League contract over the winter and the Brewers hoped he would be this year’s Gabe Kapler, a fellow former Red Sox who had a solid 2008 season as a backup outfielder in Milwaukee. Instead, Nixon batted .105 in 20 Cactus League games and fell behind fellow competitors Chris Duffy, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Brad Nelson in the chase for two spots on the bench. 

While the rest of the team warmed up for a game against the Dodgers on Wednesday, Nixon was packing up his belongings in the Brewers clubhouse. Through a club spokesman, he declined to speak to reporters. 

“That was tough for me,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha, who was Nixon’s Minor League skipper from 1995-98 and said he put his “heart and soul” into developing Nixon as a big leaguer. “I explained to him that his career has meant as much to me as to him because I spent so much time with him. I’m proud to say he was a player with me in the Minor Leagues because of his professionalism and the career that he has had.” 

Nixon indicated to Macha that he still wants to play and was not mulling retirement. That’s why Macha encouraged Brewers general manager Doug Melvin to make the move early, instead of waiting for the final week of Spring Training.

Looper, Gamel among medical updates

Manager Ken Macha came armed with more medical updates on Monday:

– Braden Looper is scheduled to throw off the mound on Wednesday for the first time since he strained a muscle on his ribcage. The Brewers are not projecting beyond that, and there remains some question about Looper’s availability for the start of the season.

– Backup catcher Mike Rivera has been cleared to take batting practice. He strained his right hamstring during baserunning drills last week.

– Another catcher, Angel Salome, traveled with the team to Scottsdale on Monday and served as the bullpen catcher. If he passes that test, he should be cleared for batting practice on Tuesday.

– Mat Gamel threw for the third day in a row from 90 feet, a good sign that his strained right shoulder is feeling much better. The next step for Gamel is to be cleared to take infield.

– Outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. is pain-free but the medical staff is “still trying to figure out” the next step, Macha said. Gwynn also has a shoulder injury and had a cortisone shot last week.