Brewers still trying to find a long-term position for Mat Gamel

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Third base prospect Mat Gamel began getting some reps at first base recently as the Brewers plan ahead for the possibility of life without Prince Fielder, but yesterday he made his first career start in left field subbing for an injured Ryan Braun and now it sounds like Milwaukee’s coaching staff may like him more as an outfielder.
“My assessment says that’s where he’s going to wind up, in the outfield,” manager Ken Macha told Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Of course, Macha also pointed out that, as of now, Braun is signed through 2015 and right fielder Corey Hart just inked a $26.5 million extension that goes through 2013.
“We might get in the winter and somebody might be interested in somebody and it’s a deal that fits both clubs and somebody goes,” Macha said. “It might not be Gamel. It might be one of the other guys. So who knows what happens as things move forward.”
Braun obviously isn’t going anywhere and the odds of trading Hart just months after signing him to an extension seem pretty slim, so Gamel replacing Fielder at first base remains the most likely scenario whether it happens in 2011 or 2012.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.