I don’t want to be one of those guys who goes over the top, taking a few bits of information and extrapolating it to Armageddon. But I am not encouraged by how Brewers rookie Mat Gamel is entering into the world of major league baseball.

After tearing up the AA Southern League during the first half of last season, Gamel slumped badly in the second half before getting called up to Milwaukee in September. It was later learned that he had been concealing an elbow issue that might have contributed to his second half slide. As a result of this late disclosure, he was scrubbed from the Arizona Fall League and went home to be with his pregnant fiance in Florida.

So with all winter to prep for his first Big League Camp, Gamel was the last guy to report and, to top it off, showed up with an impingement in his shoulder, an injury that will keep him from fully working on defense, the weakest part of his game.

His late arrival did have some explanation attached: His wife-to-be is expecting any day and Gamel wanted to be there just in case. So he waited until the last minute to come across the country to AZ. OK — as a family guy myself, I can sympathize with his predicament. The problem is that his 11th hour arrival was coupled with another surprise injury–it seems a disconcerting pattern is forming in Young Mr. Gamel’s emerging career.

It turns out the situation was troubling enough that Gamel and the Brewers Top Brass decided they wanted to have a sit-down to “clear the air.” I guess that is healthy, but probably not as healthy as not having to have one in the first place.

This all might be much ado about nothing. However, the early returns have raised my eyebrows a bit concerning a player that the Brewers are counting on for the future of their club.


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