Brewers’ Mat Gamel claimed by rival Cubs

Once considered one of the team’s top prospects, Mat Gamel’s time with the Milwaukee Brewers has come to an end. A day after the team placed him on waivers, the first baseman was claimed by the Chicago Cubs.

Gamel, 28, hasn’t played since May of 2012 because of two different ACL tears in his right knee. Drafted by the Brewers in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, Gamel quickly vaulted up to the top of Milwaukee’s prospect list and was thought of as a can’t-miss offensive player.

Even before the knee issues, Gamel has been held back by different injuries. He made his major-league debut with the Brewers in 2008, appearing in two games in September. Gamel had his most productive season in 2009, hitting .242 with five home runs and 20 RBI in 61 games with Milwaukee.

After hitting .310 with 28 home runs and 96 RBI in Triple-A in 2011, Gamel was Milwaukee’s Opening Day first baseman in 2012 after Prince Fielder left for Detroit. Hitting .246 with a home run and six RBI through 21 games, Gamel tore his ACL chasing a foul pop-up in San Diego in early May.

Gamel was the favorite to fill in for Corey Hart at first base as he recovered from his own knee injury, but he tore the ACL in his right knee during the Brewers’ first full-squad workout of spring training.

“Not real happy, obviously,” Gamel said during in spring training. “But I mean what do you do? You rehab it again and try and get it stronger.

“You’ve got to stay positive, I think. You can’t sit here and pout or feel bad for yourself because that just puts you in a bad mood. You know, make the process harder. So, just stay positive and you know get healthy.”

Gamel played in 106 games over five seasons for the Brewers, hitting .229 with six home runs and 29 RBI. His departure frees up a spot on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster.

Also placed on waivers by the team, infielder Taylor Green cleared and was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville after being activated from the 60-day disabled list. The 26-year-old missed the entire season after having hip surgery.

Milwaukee also outrighted outfielder Josh Prince and right-hander Nick Bucci to Triple-A, leaving the 40-man roster at 38.

Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter