Mat Gamel has to be feeling like the mayor of Bummersville. The Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, it was confirmed on Monday, is out for the 2013 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Again. After rehabbing most of last year with the same torn ACL.
Gamel hit the field for the first time on Saturday, which had to be a good feeling. He worked his way back from an ACL injury he suffered in May while chasing a foul ball. He didn't last long this spring, however. Gamel was carted off the field halfway through the Brewers' first full-squad workout, with problems in the same knee.
Odds of tearing an already surgically-repaired ACL are said to be low, but it does happen. Gamel now becomes part of an unfortunate statistic. While Gamel hasn't spoken publicly yet, Brewers manager manager Ron Roenicke told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
"He was pretty good when I talked to him earlier today, but it has to crush you. You go through a long rehab period, which isn't fun. It's lonely, it's hard work, boring at times, and now to think you have to go through it all again, it's pretty rough."
Gamel, 27, was once pegged as the successor to Prince Fielder in Milwaukee. This season he would have gotten a shot at first base again because Corey Hart (who replaced Gamel last season) also had an injured knee. He had surgery Jan. 25 and will miss four months.
Now, the Brewers will turn to one of four first base options in the immediate future: Taylor Green, Alex Gonzalez, Bobby Crosby and Hunter Morris. Green and Morris are both young prospects. Green started 14 games last season. Morris was the Brewers' minor-league player of the year but hasn't played higher than Double-A. Meanwhile, Crosby and Gonzalez are journeymen veterans who both happen to be former shortstops.
And Gamel? Well, he'll have to learn to battle patience as well as pain. This time around, the former may be the tougher foe than the latter.