The Brewers summoned Gamel, their top offensive prospect, to the majors Wednesday night in anticipation of using the third baseman as their designated hitter in interleague play.
To make room on the roster for Gamel, the Brewers sent reserve outfielder Brad Nelson outright to Class AAA Nashville. Nelson, who was hitless in 21 at-bats this season, including 14 pinch-hit appearances, has the right to decline the assignment and become a free agent.
In the coming weeks, the Brewers have three interleague series on the road, where the designated hitter will be used. The first of those series is May 22-24 in Minnesota.
Rather than wait for those series, the Brewers opted to summon Gamel and let him get his feet get wet with some at-bats off the bench and perhaps an occasional start.
“He’ll probably get some pinch-hits, get acclimated a little bit to the big leagues,” said manager Ken Macha. “He may get a start. We’ll see how that all plays out.
“This kid is probably our best prospect. I don’t think the plan is to have him sitting on the bench.”
General manager Doug Melvin said the decision was made for a two-fold reason: Gamel’s strong offensive showing at Nashville and the lack of production from the young hitters on the bench.
But they always have to accompany it with one step back....
Yeah, why would you want to do something that makes sense (and worked so well last year).
Bill Hall, who has started 27 games at third base, has begun to struggle again against right-handed pitching (.215 batting average). But Melvin said the Gamel move doesn’t signal a platoon or the possibility of trading Hall to open the position.
“We’re not talking about a trade at this point,” said Melvin. “That’s not what this is about.”