Mat Gamel can’t catch a break, and it will cost the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013.
For the second time in the last year, Gamel tore his right ACL. The Brewers first baseman was injured May 1 at San Diego after crashing into a wall in an attempt to catch a foul ball off the bat of Nick Hundley.
With hopes of making a comeback this season, the 27-year-old re-injured his right knee Saturday during the Brewers first full-squad workout of Spring Training and will miss his second straight season.
The injury could not have come at a worse time for Gamel, who has played just 106 games since his major league debut with Milwaukee in 2008.
“It really surprised me because there was no really major event that happened that you would have thought that would have been that serious,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said, according to ESPN.com. “I figured, OK, he tweaks it. Coming back after a rehab you figure it is not always going to go smooth. I figured a couple of days and he’d be back on the field.”
Gamel won’t be suiting up for the Brewers this season, and his injury will leave his club in a state of panic.
Replacing Gamel will prove difficult for Milwaukee.
Corey Hart, who made the switch to first base following Gamel’s injury in 2012, is still on crutches after undergoing right knee surgery in January. Hart, who hit .270 with 30 home runs and 83 RBIs last season, isn't expected to be back in uniform for a couple of months.
With Hart out, the potential candidates to fill the void at first base shifts to a group of players that have little to no experience playing the position at the major league level.
Alex Gonzalez is a grizzled veteran who has never played first base throughout his 14-year major league career.
Bobby Crosby showed potential during his rookie season in 2004 by winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award. However, he has not seen action over the past two seasons and has played just 31 games at first base in the major leagues.
Hunter Morris appears to be a good fit for Roenicke, but the 24-year-old has never played higher than Double-A.
The case for Taylor Green is slim at best. Green played 18 games with the Brewers last season, but hit .184.
The Brewers need to get Hart fully healthy or their season will be lost in the opening months.