For the second straight spring injuries have ruined Mat Gamel’s chances of making the Brewers. Last year it was a torn shoulder muscle that kept him off the Opening Day roster and led to Gamel spending most of the season at Triple-A and this year an oblique strain did him in.
Milwaukee has optioned Gamel to Triple-A, where he’ll spend a third consecutive season at age 25, and barring an injury to Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, or Casey McGehee there isn’t an obvious place for him to get playing time with the Brewers even if he gets off to a great start in Nashville.
If he gets a call-up it’ll likely involve serving as a bench bat and utility man, although he remains the top in-house option to replace impending free agent Prince Fielder at first base. He’ll be out of options next year, forcing the one-time top prospect to either sink or swim by then.
And John Lackey is livid.
The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.
According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.
Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.
Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that the Giants have promoted top infield prospect Christian Arroyo from Triple-A Sacramento. MLB Pipeline rated Arroyo as the Giants’ No. 2 prospect behind pitcher Tyler Beede and the team’s best position player prospect.
Arroyo, 21, was selected in the first round (25th overall) of the 2013 draft. He started the year at Triple-A for the first time and he hit an astounding .446/.478/.692 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 69 plate appearances to start the season.
The Giants, 6-13, are looking to regain their balance after unexpectedly losing ace Madison Bumgarner, who sustained injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day. Arroyo will likely play third base regularly over Eduardo Nunez.