Braves sign Mat Gamel


Mat Gamel, who was a top prospect and the heir apparent at first base for the Brewers before multiple knee surgeries derailed his career, has signed a minor-league contract with the Braves.

Atlanta isn’t a great landing spot for Gamel because the Braves have Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson locked into corner infield jobs, although perhaps given his injury history a part-time bench role is the best plan anyway.

Gamel has logged just 269 total plate appearances in the majors through age 27, but has hit .301 with 53 homers and an .886 OPS in 290 games at Triple-A, including very good numbers there this year. He’s definitely someone to root for.

Jeff Samardzija to undergo MRI on right shoulder

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Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.

This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.

Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.