CHICAGO -- Mat Gamel, a 23-year-old Brewers prospect, learned a difficult lesson this week, one that all too often slips past young players.
If you're hurting, tell someone about it.
Gamel did not, so he was shipped back to Milwaukee on Thursday for a visit with head team physician William Raasch to determine the source of discomfort in the top prospect's right elbow. Gamel was diagnosed with tendonitis, which may help explain his dramatic drop in production over the second half of the Minor League season.
"Unfortunately, it's a young player who elected not to tell us," said assistant general manager Gord Ash. "When he finally did tell us that he's been hurting for a while, we obviously had him head right to the doctor."
Gamel started the year as the hottest hitter in the Southern League, batting .381 through the end of June with 72 RBIs for Double-A Huntsville and earning a spot in the All-Star Futures Game. But he slumped to .243 in July and .205 in August before a promotion to Triple-A Nashville, where he went 5-for-21 in five games.
Could the injury explain that fall?
"It could," Ash said. "But I think this injury typically has more to do with throwing than it does hitting, although he does claim to have some pain on full extension."
Gamel took infield practice on Wednesday before apparently informing the team's athletic training staff that he was hurt. He has appeared in only two games since a Sept. 1 call-up, going 1-for-2. He got his first Major League hit against the Padres on Sept. 7.
While Gamel left, outfielder Gabe Kapler returned to the team on Thursday and went through a battery of tests, but was not cleared to participate. He tore a muscle behind his right shoulder last week, but could become a pinch-hit option for the Brewers at some point.
Doctors informed Kapler that he should not throw or slide headfirst.
"If he can tolerate swinging, he's able to do that," Ash said. "We want to be able to see it first hand."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.