Without Corey Hart for at least the first month and a half of the 2013 MLB regular season, the safe assumption is that Mat Gamel will take over as the starting first baseman. However, Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke could play someone else at the position as well.
Roenicke stated that he would like to see newly acquired veteran infielder Alex Gonzalez, who signed a one-year deal with the Brewers worth $1.5 million, get some time at first base in place of Gamel. Roenicke believes this is a way to get the very talented Gonzalez more plate appearances and a bigger role to help the team win.
Gonzalez got off to the best start of his career last year with Milwaukee but the 35-year-old’s season was cut short after he tore his ACL in a brutal slide into second base. Gonzalez was batting .259 with four home runs, 15 runs batted in and four doubles in only 81 at-bats. Now that he is back with the organization, Brewers’ fans are thrilled to have another veteran presence in the locker room and to be the defensive leader of the infield.
Roenicke assured the media that Gamel will play first base for the majority of the time until Hart returns from his physical rehabilitation but he would like to see if Gonzalez could be a game changer on the right side of the infield. For all we know, Gonzalez could play lights out at the position and help Milwaukee win games with his outstanding defense.
It will be interesting to see what happens once Hart returns to the team as Gamel and Gonzalez’s playing time will obviously take quite a hit. Even though not having Hart in the lineup every day is brutal for the Brewers offense, it could help the team in the long run as both players will be well oiled to take on different roles coming off of the bench.