Mat Gamel's defense is so bad that even the Tennessean is taking notice, in between Titans rookie minicamp news and prep sports previews.
"He's made some great plays, he's shown he can make the plays," Sounds Manager Don Money said. "But at times, he loses focus on the easy ones. When he dives for a ball, gets up and throws it and doesn't really think about it, he does a lot better. Sometimes he'll boot a ball and I'll just sit there and shake my head. How do you catch a routine ball and then miss first base by five feet. To me, that's just losing concentration."
"I'll talk to him. I'll even take ground balls with him on occasion," the 61-year-old Money said. "I'll tell him, 'you're forcing me to take my glove out of my bag.' "He's learning. He's made a lot of improvement. But it is very frustrating."
While working to make his defense passable at the major league level, Money and the Brewers brass are fully aware Gamel is going to hit his way to Milwaukee.
"Is he going to be a Gold Glove winner, make 10 errors a year? I don't see that," Money said. "Will he be adequate enough to do the job and go out and hit what he's capable of hitting? Yes.
"If your forte is hitting, you'd better hit. If you don't hit, and your defense is off-center, that's another story."
For now, the organization is committed to Gamel at the hot corner.
"We want to make every effort to make third base his position," Milwaukee assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "He's with the perfect guy in Don. We think that's a good match in terms of working with his defense. We'll try to make it work there. If that becomes an issue down the road, we'll address it then."
In other words, no matter what these folks say, Gamel will be playing somewhere other than 3B when he breaks in with Milwaukee, if he isn't traded first. His ceiling on defense at 3B is apparently somewhere between passable and adequate.