MILWAUKEE—Mat Gamel doesn't waste time dreaming about being the heir apparent to first baseman Prince Fielder, who will be a free agent after the season.
"You can't think about that," said Gamel, who moved across the diamond from third base at Triple-A Nashville this season. "You worry about what you've got to do. Whatever happens, happens, especially with Prince. It's a guy you don't want to see leave the organization."
The Brewers summoned Gamel, 25, to the big leagues in late June to provide an extra bat for interleague games at the Yankees and Twins. Milwaukee then kept him on the big league roster—but with a twist—until the all-star break. With incumbent third baseman Casey McGehee mired in a season-long hitting slump, Gamel began taking ground balls at the hot corner again. When he got comfortable, the Brewers gave him three starts there.
The plan remains in place for Gamel to play first base every day, possibly as soon as 2012.
"I enjoy first base," Gamel said. "I'm a lot more comfortable there than I was at third. I like it a lot, being involved in everything, being able to pick up teammates by digging balls out of the dirt. Honestly, it's less stressful. I'm sure it's less stressful for everybody."
At the time of his promotion, Gamel was in the midst of his best season at Triple-A. He batted .328/.385/.579 with 18 homers in 299 at-bats for the Sounds, having homered 10 times in 25 June games.
Gamel went just 3-for-26 (.115) for the Brewers, however, who sent him back to Nashville in mid-July.
"There have been spells in the past when I've been real hot," Gamel said, "but I've been real consistent. I'm definitely ready to be (in Milwaukee) for good, but it's a tough lineup to crack, especially with the positions I've played. You've got a lot of good players playing those positions. Sometimes you've just got to wait until it's your time."
That time might not be that far off. The Brewers may not be able to afford to keep Fielder, and Gamel will be out of options next season.
• Righthander Mark Rogers began a rehab assignment in the Rookie-level Arizona League in early July. He was trying to get on track after being sidelined with carpal tunnel syndrome.
• The Brewers released outfielder Brandon Jones, who batted .239/.336/.365 with four homers in 68 games for Double-A Huntsville. The 27-year-old ranked as the Braves' No. 4 prospect in 2008.