PITTSBURGH -- While the Brewers headed out for their most important road trip of the season, Mat Gamel headed home for the winter.Gamel, sidelined since May 1 with an injury to his right knee that required season-ending surgery, packed his bags on Sunday and headed home to Jacksonville, Fla., to continue his rehabilitation.
The Brewers hope that he'll be ready to play in the Dominican Winter League.Before departing, Gamel said that he was open to the idea of playing winter ball, but the team for which he played last year -- Estrellas -- is full, so he will need to find a new club. Manager Ron Roenicke explained the decision to send Gamel home. "This rehab thing is really hard," Roenicke said. "It's hard mentally. The physical part, you know what you have to deal with, but the mental part is hard. Alex [Gonzalez, who had a similar injury], went home from the get-go, but Mat's been going at this hard, and he's at a point now where we're comfortable where he is, and to get home and relax a little bit [is beneficial]." Gamel will continue his rehab with a club-approved specialist. After beginning this season as the Brewers' Opening Day first baseman, Gamel finds his future in limbo again. Corey Hart has assumed that position and will probably remain there in 2013, the final year of his contract, and Hunter Morris, the Brewers' No. 8 prospect and 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, is likely to man first at Triple-A Nashville. Where does that leave Gamel? Probably as a utility option, as he has experience at first base, third base and in the outfield. "He told me, 'I want to be in the big leagues. I don't care what it takes, where I play. I want to be on your team,'" Roenicke said. "I think that's a good attitude. He's shown he can hit in Triple-A, and we'll see what he can do in the Major Leagues. I think his mind-set has probably changed a little bit, too, because of circumstances with the injury."
Hart reports no progress on injured foot
PITTSBURGH -- Corey Hart needed only one word on Tuesday to update the condition of his injured left foot."Same," Hart said. That's bad news for the Brewers, who were hoping to have their slugging first baseman back in the lineup on Tuesday for the start of a crucial, 10-game road trip. Instead he remains indefinitely sidelined, limited -- maybe -- to pinch-hitting duties because of torn tissue along his left arch. Doctors have ruled out what Hart considered to be the last resort -- a platelet-rich plasma injection to speed healing in the area. According to Hart, Drs. William Raasch and Mark Niedfeldt decided that the reward of temporary relief would not outweigh the risk of further, more serious damage. So Hart continues experimenting with tape jobs and is wearing custom shoe inserts to ease the pain. "If baseball was all in straight lines, I'd be good to go," Hart said. "I feel like it's improving, but not to where I need it. It's tough, because I want to go out there and play every day, but there are so many things, that I think I would hurt our team if I was in there. I feel like I couldn't score from first [on a double] or score from second [on a hit]. Quick plays at first are going to be hard, [moving] back and forth." As of Tuesday the Brewers had 16 games remaining in the regular season, but manager Ron Roenicke expressed optimism that Hart would see action before the year is out. "If he keeps getting a little bit better, I think he will be able to start [a game]," Roenicke said. "If we get to the point where he's not getting any better at all, we'll have to talk about it and see what he wants to do, but I'm still hopeful that we'll get him back out there."
Weeks is Brewers' nominee for Clemente Award
PITTSBURGH -- For the second time in his career, Rickie Weeks is the Brewers' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, an honor the 30-year-old does not take lightly."I grew up with baseball history in my family," Weeks said. "I was able to go to the Roberto Clemente Museum last year, and see some stuff I didn't quite know about him. At the same time, I knew some things about him." Weeks is one of the 30 club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a Major Leaguer who best represents baseball on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. Fans can vote through Oct. 14 at MLB.com/ClementeAward and help decide which of those 30 will receive this prestigious recognition. The award is named for the 15-time All-Star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Weeks was also nominated in 2010. "It's great," he said. "A lot of time, people forget about doing off-the-field stuff, community relations and trying to give back. I take pride in doing that. It just feels good when they recognize you for that." Weeks is involved in a variety of charitable interests. He built into his contract an annual donation to Brewers Community Foundation, the club's official charity, to support activities and programs targeted at youth recreation, scholarships and education in Wisconsin. This summer he hosted the Team Smile dental clinic at Miller Park and made a monetary contribution to the YMCA in support of its swimming program. Weeks has partnered with Brewers Community Foundation to sponsor the 2012-2013 "Teach for America, Sponsor-A-Teacher" initiative in Milwaukee. He sponsored the Children's First Stage Theatre Company's production of a play called "The Jackie Robinson Story," which will debut in 2013. Since 2008, Weeks has financially supported the "Rickie's Rookies" ticket program, which provides hundreds of game tickets and T-shirts to youth groups and organizations throughout the state. He has also supported Milwaukee's Beckum-Stapleton Little League, the 2011 Fatherhood Initiative Trip (sending fathers and their children on a one-day trip to St. Louis for a ballgame) and the American Diabetes Association, a cause close to his heart, since three of his grandparents have the disease. The Brewers will honor Weeks for his charitable efforts on Sept. 29 at Miller Park.