SAN FRANCISCO -- As expected, the Brewers placed first baseman Mat Gamel on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a torn ACL in his right knee and summoned utility man Brooks Conrad from Triple-A.
What wasn't expected was the corresponding move to free a 40-man roster spot for Conrad. The Brewers released Zach Braddock, the 24-year-old, talented but troubled left-handed reliever once considered a key piece of the club's bullpen puzzle, perhaps even a future closer.
Braddock has not pitched since Spring Training because of personal issues that Brewers officials say they cannot disclose. Last year, Braddock spent time on the disabled list to get treatment for a sleep disorder, then missed most of the second half with that and other undisclosed matters.
After missing the cut with the Brewers this spring, he had been on the inactive list at Triple-A Nashville but was not with the team.
"We needed the roster spot, and we felt with Zach that a change of scenery was the best situation. We had to make some decisions," general manager Doug Melvin said. "This gives him an opportunity to hook on with somebody else."
Melvin said the Brewers had discussions with Braddock's agent, Jeff Berry, before placing Braddock on release waivers. Berry declined to discuss Braddock's status.
"He's got a good arm," Melvin said. "Someone might claim him. They might not. Sometimes it gets to a point where you decide, 'Is he going to be a part of your ballclub?' We didn't think he would be a part of our ballclub for the present or the foreseeable future. We didn't see that happening. When you make decisions on players, that's what you look at."
Conrad is a switch-hitter who will probably play mostly off the bench but could start against left-handed pitchers, starting with Saturday against the Giants' Madison Bumgarner. For now, Travis Ishikawa stands to be the regular starter at first base in Gamel's extended absence.
Gamel will need surgery for his torn ACL, but for now the joint is too swollen to set a schedule. Gamel will visit Dr. William Raasch again Wednesday, according to assistant general manager Gord Ash.