MILWUAKEE -- Brewers top prospect Mat Gamel will remain in the big leagues at least through the end of Interleague Play, general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ken Macha said this weekend.
Gamel made his fifth career start at third base Sunday against Micah Owings and the Reds. The original plan was to use Gamel as the designated hitter in Milwaukee's May 22-24 Interleague series in Minnesota, and then return him to Triple-A Nashville to play every day.
The plan changed after second baseman Rickie Weeks suffered a season-ending wrist injury two weeks ago, forcing the Brewers to use Craig Counsell in that spot.
So Gamel will remain in place at least through the team's three remaining Interleague matchups, which fall on June 15-17 at Cleveland, June 19-21 at Detroit and June 23-25 at home against Minnesota.
"He'll get a chance to sink or swim," Macha said.
So far, Gamel doesn't exactly look like Michael Phelps. He was batting .336 in Nashville at the time of his promotion, but he carried a .160 average into play Sunday. He was hitless in his past 16 at-bats -- including 0-for-7 on the homestand.
"In fairness to him, when you see [the Cardinals' Adam] Wainwright and [Chris] Carpenter and [the Reds' Johnny] Cueto, that's tough," Macha said. "I remember playing the Houston Astros all the time in Spring Training one year, and you're hitting .250 in Spring Training but [facing] J.R. Richard and Nolan Ryan every day, and it's kind of hard to get a hit, period. You're pleased with your .250."
Melvin said he met with Macha after the team returned from Minnesota and let the manager decide what to do with Gamel.
"Ken said he wanted to keep him," Melvin said.
Starts might be harder to come by for Gamel on the Brewers' upcoming road trip. In three of the seven games, the Brewers' opponent will start a left-handed pitcher, so Macha is more likely to start Bill Hall at third base. Casey McGehee may also emerge as an option there, but for now he's needed at second base against left-handed starters so Counsell can rest.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.