MILWAUKEE -- Third-base prospect Mat Gamel said he may play winter ball in Puerto Rico to make up for the at-bats he's lost this summer on the Brewers' bench. Gamel also fielded an offer from a team in Venezuela, but favors the more stable environment in Puerto Rico. His participation is not finalized yet, but Milwaukee officials have strongly urged him to go. "We'll see if it works out," Gamel said. "The goal would just be to get better, to play more and work on hitting -- to get some confidence back."
Gamel's confidence has been tested this season. He was hitting .336 for Triple-A Nashville when the Brewers promoted him in May for two months of inconsistent playing time. When he returned to the Minors, he struggled, batting .234. He hit eight home runs in 33 games before the promotion and three homers in 42 games after it. The Brewers made Gamel a September callup, but team officials are pushing hard for Casey McGehee as a National League Rookie of the Year candidate, and McGehee has made most of the starts. Entering Wednesday's series finale against the Cubs, Gamel was 1-for-8 with five strikeouts in September. Winter ball could offer a chance to make up for lost time. It could also be a way to impress the Brewers' decision-makers as they prepare for 2010. "I think every young guy should go play winter ball," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "[Gamel] missed at-bats because we brought him up here." Gamel was on the field early Wednesday with infield coach Willie Randolph working on slow rollers. On Tuesday, Brewers manager Ken Macha invited Gamel into his office for a chat about his season and what Macha would like to see him do better. Macha also received some video Wednesday of Gamel's at-bats from earlier this season in Nashville to "compare what he looked like in May and June and what he looks like now," Macha said. "He's got some things to iron out."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.