The Brewers were counting on Mat Gamel to help fill the offensive void left by Prince Fielder’s departure following the 2011 season. Now Milwaukee will be without the first baseman for the second straight year.
Gamel tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the second time in less than a year and will miss the season. The 27-year-old was lost for the 2012 season after just 21 games.
Gamel’s knee checked out fine in late January in Milwaukee and again during a spring training physical on Feb. 12. But Gamel reinjured the knee Saturday during the Brewers’ first full-squad workout, and an MRI Sunday revealed the extent of the injury.
‘‘It really surprised me because there was no really major event that happened that you would have thought that would have been that serious,’’ manager Ron Roenicke said. ‘‘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 has been restricted to 106 games in the majors since his debut in 2008, mostly because of injuries, including a torn muscle in his right shoulder in March 2010 and a strained right oblique in February 2011. He was expected to be the Brewers’ first baseman in 2012 coming off a season in which he hit .310 with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs in Triple A.
Corey Hart, who moved to first base after Gamel’s injury last year, is on crutches after right knee surgery Jan. 25 and is expected to be out 3-4 months. Roenicke said candidates to play first until Hart returns include shortstop Alex Gonzalez and Hunter Morris, the Brewers’ minor league player of the year last season at Double A.
Milwaukee might also be in play for Mike Carp, the first baseman/outfielder who was designated for assignment by the Mariners last week.
Lat strain slows Garza
Cubs righthander Matt Garza will undergo tests to determine the severity of the lat strain he sustained while pitching batting practice Sunday. The Cubs called it a ‘‘mild strain’’ but general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday that Garza will undergo an MRI and receive a ‘‘rest period.’’ Garza went 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA last year. He made his final start on July 21, when he left a game in St. Louis because of a stress reaction in his elbow . . . The Cubs traded outfielder Tony Campana to the Diamondbacks for two 17-year-old pitchers. Campana was designated for assignment last week.
Jeter back on field
Derek Jeter took part in most of the team drills during the Yankees’ first full-squad workout in Tampa, including on-field batting practice for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery last October. The 38-year-old captain, who has been hitting in an indoor cage, also took part in a 25-minute defensive session at shortstop. ‘‘It felt good,’’ said Jeter, who didn’t take part in agility or running drills. Jeter has said he will be in the lineup for Opening Day against the Red Sox on April 1, but he is likely 2-3 weeks away from making his exhibition debut . . . Diamondbacks righthander Brandon McCarthy threw a live batting practice session, the first time he’s faced batters since being struck in the head by a line drive Sept. 5 while pitching for Oakland . . . A person with knowledge of the deal told the AP the Pirates are planning to extend the contract of third-year manager Clint Hurdle through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement is expected on Wednesday . . . Marlins first baseman Casey Kotchman received four stitches to close a cut on his left ring finger after running into a pop-up machine during infield drills. Kotchman signed a minor league contract with Miami on Friday . . . Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar has decided against playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. The infielder, who turns 20 on Wednesday, has a chance to earn a spot on the Rangers’ 25-man roster . . . Roger Clemens was at Astros camp in Kissimmee, Fla., as a special instructor. Regarding his exclusion from the Baseball Hall of Fame after falling well short in his first year on the ballot, Clemens said, ‘‘I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. If [voters] feel I deserve to be there, then I deserve to be there. If they feel I don’t, then that’s OK, too.’’