Let's All Feel Bad for Mat Gamel

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Boy, some people have the worst luck.

As earlier reported by my friend Lou and Adam McCalvy on Brewers.com, Third baseman Mat Gamel has suffered a strain on his right rib cage. Let it out with me Brewers faithful, “Aww.” It appears to be minor, but you can’t help but feel a little bad for Mat.

This is the third season in a row that the injury bug has bitten Mat in spring. By now, you ought to think the guy has a monogrammed examination table in Maryvale. In the last two years, it was a torn lat muscle and strained shoulder that not only delayed his Triple-A seasons (which went very well by the way), but also cost him a spot on the opening day roster.

He has proved to be a serviceable bench player in both 2009 and ’10(although he had limited time last season), and the Brewers had big plans for him this year at third base and possibly other places around the field. This undoubtedly puts a wrench in the system, as he will need to be on rest for the following week. In spring training, you have a limited amount of time to gain a roster spot. Gamel has been trying to make that his spot for years now, but health issues have been nagging him something awful. Team officials haven’t been too concerned publicly about this or any of the injuries the team is suffering currently.

I have to say I’m a bit more concerned. Mat may not be a superstar, but we still have an investment in him as a piece of our team’s success. With this year’s blockbuster trades, we tore our farm system to pieces. Every utility guy like Gamel is important and needs to be on his best. Yes, it’s early. We all know that, but one can’t help but be a little irked when news like this pops up. Maybe this is just the fan in me talking, but I still see a ton of potential in Mat Gamel as an everyday guy in the future. The big problem with this as that everyday opportunities don’t show up, well, everyday. For every guy that gets injured there are dozens of people in the farm leagues waiting to step up. Every day with missed at-bats is time lost in front of the coaches, and I don’t know how much more time Gamel can afford to lose. It really is a bummer, and I hope he isn’t out for too long.

If one thing holds true during a baseball season it’s this: depth is important. No earth-shattering statement there, but a paramount one nonetheless. I’d hate to have his career cut short because he can’t stay healthy. There’s little doubt we’re going need him down the road. Here’s to your health, Mat.

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