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.

The Mets expect Tim Tebow to come back next year

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Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Newsday today that he expects minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to return for a third season in professional baseball.

Tebow, 31, broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, ending his season. It was a fairly successful season for him all things considered. After being promoted to Double-A Binghamton to start the year he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS in 298 plate appearances and made the Double-A All-Star team. That’s not the stuff of a top prospect — he strikes out far too much and the power numbers aren’t fantastic given that power would figure to be his strongest tool — but it’s pretty respectable for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience. As I said back in July, you can believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, but that does not preclude you from giving the guy a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Assuming he does come back, the Mets are likely to start him at Triple-A Syracuse in the hopes that he’d eventually get to the bigs as a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.