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Mat Gamel

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Mathew Lawrence Gamel

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Third baseman Mat Gamel was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 4th Round (115th overall) of the 2005 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Doug Reynolds and made his pro debut that summer. He had an excellent season with the West Virginia Power of the South Atlantic League in 2006. He was named the top star of the league's All-Star Game, and was a league All-Star at the end of the season, having put up a line of .288/.359/.469 with 28 doubles and 17 homers in 129 games. Moving up to the Brevard County Manatees of the Florida State League in 2007, he was the league's Player of the Week on June 4th, 2007 and ended the year with a line of .300/.378/.472. That was pretty good, but he then improved every part of that line with the Huntsville Stars of the AA Southern League, hitting 35 doubles and 19 home runs to notch his slugging percentage to .537. He also played 5 games with the AAA Nashville Sounds, adding another home run, and earned a first call-up to The Show.

Gamel made his major league debut on September 3, 2008, striking out in his only at-bat, but hit a double of the San Diego Padres' Chris Young in his only other plate appearance of the season. In 2009, he started the season at Nashville, then was in Milwaukee from mid-May to mid-July, before returning to Nashville, and then getting a late-season call-up to the Crewam City after rosters expanded in September. In Nashville, he hit .278 with 18 doubles and 11 homers in 75 games; he played 61 games for the Brewers as a back-up third baseman and pinch-hitter, hitting .242 with 6 doubles and 5 homers in 128 at-bats. However, Casey McGehee emerged as one of the top rookies in the National League that season, considerably reducing Mat's potential playing time. As a result, he returned to the minor leagues in 2010. Worse, he was injured for a good part of the season, and after a couple of rehabilitation stints, he hit .309 with 24 homers and 13 homers in 82 games for Nashville. He was back in Milwaukee in September, hitting 3 for 15 in 12 games, but there was still no room for him on the team in 2011. He returned to Nashville once again and continued to tear the cover off the ball, this time at a .301 clip in in 128 games, with 29 doubles, 28 homers, 90 runs scored and 96 RBI. By then, he had moved to first base. He played another 10 games with the Brew Crew at the end of the season, but hit only .115.

Gamel caught a break when superstar 1B Prince Fielder left Milwaukee as a free agent before the 2012 season. The Brewers had a number of options to replace the big man, including recent Japanese signee Norichika Aoki, but decided to give the job to Gamel. He started 20 games at first base in April, and hit .246 with a pair of doubles, a triple and a homer. Then, disaster struck on May 1st when he tore a ligament in his knee chasing a pop-up in foul territory at PETCO Park in San Diego, CA. The injury required surgery, and made his return before the end of the year doubtful. Indeed, he was only ready to take the field again in spring training in 2013, but rotten luck continued to chase Gamel, who had again been penciled in as the Brewers' starter at first base with the expected absence of Corey Hart at the start of the season. In one of the first full workouts of the spring on February 18th, he re-tore the ligament, putting an end to his season before it had even started. While the injury was not considered career-threatening, there was much concern about whether Gamel could still be a productive player on his return after so much time missed.

Gamel is the brother of minor leaguer Ben Gamel.

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