Milwaukee area radio host Doug Russell has tweeted that Brewers first baseman Mat Gamel has torn his ACL, and will likely miss the rest of the season. Russell later tweeted that Brewers right fielder Corey Hart was taking pregame defense lessons at first base.
This seems like terrible news for the Brewers on the surface, but is it really that bad?. Gamel was deemed the replacement for the departed Prince Fielder this offseason, and had struggled so far this season (with just a .651 OPS this year). The 11-13 Brewers now have an interesting decision to make. They can move Hart to first base, and let the outfield sort itself out with Carlos Gomez, Nyjer Morgan, and Norichika Aoki fighting for playing time in center and right. The immediate best arrangement would result in Gomez and Aoki getting a bulk of the playing time, and letting Morgan take on a fourth outfielder role.
Another option that the Brewers can consider concerns backup catcher George Kottaras, who has a 1.254 OPS in 15 games this season. Jonathan Lucroy is the starter for Milwaukee and holding his own with a .777 OPS, and it really wouldn't hurt the Brewers to at least try to get Kottaras in the lineup more...but he really doesn't have a ton of experience anywhere from behind the plate, with only four innings played at first in his career. But hell, at least until his hot streak calms down a little bit, why not at least give him a shot in the daily lineup more often?
The Brewers don't exactly have a Prince Fielder waiting in the wings, but they actually should be able to capably fill Gamel's hole in the lineup.
Photo courtesy of Daylife.com
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