PHOENIX -- An MRI scan on Wednesday revealed that Brewers third-base prospect Mat Gamel has what the team termed a "slight" tear in his latissimus dorsi, the large muscle behind the right shoulder. Brewers director of media relations Mike Vassallo reported that the team expects Gamel to be restricted from activity for six weeks.
"Then he has to get ready for games from there, so we could be talking about closer to eight to nine weeks total before he's 100 percent," Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said.
Gamel, 23, suffered the injury during batting practice early in camp and missed the first three days of Cactus League play. He started a March 8 game against the Mariners but was forced to exit in the third inning because of the shoulder.
Many Brewers fans know the "lat" muscle well because it's what sidelined Ben Sheets at the end of the 2005 season and caused him trouble into 2006. Sheets, though, had a much more significant tear as the muscle pulled away from the bone.
In Gamel's case, according to Ash, the tear is much less severe and is located in the middle of the muscle. The injury is more similar to the one then-Brewers outfielder Gabe Kapler suffered on a throw home in 2008.
Injured players who logged Major League time in the previous season cannot be optioned to the Minor Leagues, so Gamel will almost certainly begin the season on the Brewers' 15-day disabled list. With two games on Thursday's schedule -- an afternoon "B" game against the Rangers and then the regularly scheduled evening "A" game -- Brewers officials have not yet discussed whether Gamel will undergo his rehabilitation in the Major League clubhouse or head over to the team's Minor League complex.
"It will depend on what will help him get better in the most efficient manner," Ash said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.