MILWAUKEE — A pair of Brewers recovering from major injuries were given a good prognosis from team doctors Sunday in physicals that took place prior to Brewers On Deck.
First baseman Mat Gamel and left-hander Chris Narveson both were examined by team physician Dr. William Raasch and the outlook is positive for both to head into spring training with no restrictions.
Gamel – recovering from a torn ACL suffered May 1 of last season in San Diego – will get a chance to win back his starting first baseman’s job while Corey Hart recovers from knee surgery.
“The only thing Gamel hasn’t done yet is get on a field and play,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “In terms of his health, he’s ready to go.”
The Brewers will limit the running Gamel does during spring training just to be careful, but he won’t be limited in drill work. The original plan was to work Gamel in the outfield and at third base during spring training, but Hart’s injury forces plans to change slightly.
While Gamel will still get time in the outfield and at third base this spring, his time will mostly be spent at first base.
“Gamel still needs to play some outfield and he still needs to play some third because when Corey comes back, Corey is going to be our first baseman,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “We need to look at some other guys.”
Recovering from a torn rotator cuff, Narveson feels ready to compete for a spot in Milwaukee rotation.
“It feels brand new,” Narveson said. “It’s been amazing. When you have surgery, sometimes you try to trick yourself and say, ‘Hey, I feel better than what I really do.’ But I can honestly say that I don’t feel that now. I feel 100 percent.”
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke expressed some doubt Sunday that Narveson would truly be ready to go full bore when the team reports to camp, but Ash said the club isn’t concerned.
“He’s not behind,” Ash said. “He had the review this morning by Dr. Raasch and everything was great. He threw a bullpen Friday in Arizona.
“I think maybe Ron wants to insure that we are careful with him and to go slow. But there’s no restrictions.”
‘Totally different’ injury for Hart: Last offseason, Hart recovered from spring knee surgery and was ready in time for Opening Day. This time around, Hart’s timetable has been set at four months.
Hart flew back to Phoenix on Sunday and will immediately begin rehab. The Brewers first baseman is currently in a brace that limits range of motion and he will be on a weight bearing restriction for a few weeks.
“This time, it’s on the other side,” Ash said. “It’s smaller. The more significant injury is the debridement of the joint surface. He can’t be as aggressive with his rehab initially. You have to be less weight-bearing initially (and) that slows everything down.”
The four month timetable is set to when the Brewers expect Hart to be back in a Brewers uniform and includes minor league rehab time.
“We hope that on May 25 he will be in a Brewers uniform,” Ash said.
Other than Hart, Ash said he expects only left-hander Miguel de los Santos (shoulder) and infielder Hector Gomez (groin) to be the only other players in major league camp heading into spring training with injuries.
Looking for help: Both Roenicke and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin acknowledged Sunday that they are looking for a veteran first baseman to provide insurance at the position.
While Melvin was vague, he clearly has at least one potential target in mind.
“We’re talking to somebody,” Melvin said. “I don’t know if it will happen.”
Melvin has stayed in touch with the agent for former Brewers shortstop Alex Gonzalez, but the veteran has been looking for a team that would provide him more playing time.
The Brewers have made it clear that they are committed to Jean Segura as their shortstop for this season.
The other name floated around Sunday was veteran starting pitcher Kyle Lohse. Still unsigned, Lohse has long been one of the names mentioned as an option if Milwaukee decided to chase a veteran starter, but his price tag has been too hefty.
If the Brewers were to sign Lohse, they would have to give up a first-round draft pick as compensation. Brewers owner Mark Attanasio seemed OK with having to forfeit the pick because the team holds the 17th pick in this year’s draft.
Attanasio referenced the fact that if Milwaukee was in a position to make a move to add pieces at the trade deadline, it would have to part ways with young players closer to the major leagues than a middle round draft pick.
“There’s always a chance,” Attanasio said of the Brewers signing Lohse. “It’s a function of size of contract, length of contract. Kyle had two phenomenal seasons the last two seasons with St. Louis. We just have to see if that fits in our overall scheme.
“As Doug says, he goes to the office every day. In fact, we’ve had a couple of trade conversations the last two weeks.”