MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers will have to make the postseason for outfielder Ben Gamel to see the field again in 2020.
The team placed Gamel on the 10-day injured list on Sunday morning with a strained left quadriceps, at a time when only eight days remained on Milwaukee’s regular-season schedule. The move corresponded with right-hander Josh Lindblom’s return from the bereavement list to start Sunday’s home finale against the Royals at Miller Park.
The injury had dogged Gamel for at least three weeks, according to manager Craig Counsell, and likely contributed to the latest dip in Gamel’s rollercoaster of a 2020 season. He finished the year with a .237/.315/.404 slash line that included stretches of great production -- Gamel had a trio of three-hit games in a two-week span in late August and early September -- and also periods of serious struggle. Before he doubled twice against the Royals on Friday while aggravating the injury, Gamel was in a 2-for-19 funk.
“To Gamel’s credit, he has really grinded through it,” Brewers hitting coach Andy Haines said. “He has tried to hide it. He recognizes the length of the season and what’s at stake, not only for him but the team and what he can provide.
“The tough part for me to swallow for Gam is I don’t think the numbers indicate how well he has played at times. He had a little cold stretch there that hurt his overall line. But how he has swung the bat and what he has meant to us, I think at times he has played really, really well for us and has kind of turned a corner offensively. I know the numbers may not show that, but I think we’ve all seen it, his ability to use the whole field and drive the ball. I’m not sure you ever know the extent of what [the injury] has cost, performance-wise, but you guys saw what kind of shape he was in there, trying to get through it. It just kind of caught up to him.”
Gamel will remain under club control next season should the Brewers choose to keep him. He avoided arbitration last offseason by signing a one-year deal with a $2.55 million club option for 2021.