Brewers send former top prospect Mat Gamel back to Triple-A

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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.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.