CHICAGO -- Eight Brewers prospects were named to the prestigious Arizona Fall League on Wednesday, with one very intriguing "TBA" still to be settled.The Brewers' final slot could go to Mat Gamel, Milwaukee's Opening Day first baseman who suffered a season-ending knee injury on May 1. First, the Brewers would have to be granted an exception because Gamel's Major League service exceeds what AFL rules allow. Then, he would have to be healthy enough to play. It will be a close call, and the Brewers have another player in mind to fill that Phoenix Desert Dogs roster spot if it does not go to Gamel. Assistant general manager Gord Ash said Gamel was right on schedule in his rehabilitation from a torn ACL. He is expected to resume baseball activities in September, and could travel with the Brewers during their final road trip of the season. The club's other AFL participants are right-handers Nick Bucci, Kyle Heckathorn, Johnny Hellweg, Santo Manzanillo and Jimmy Nelson; first baseman Hunter Morris and outfielders Khris Davis and Brock Kjeldgaard. "I think it's the best group we've had in a long time," Ash said. Many of those players -- Bucci, Manzanillo and Kjeldgaard in particular, and Davis to a lesser degree -- will use the AFL to make up for innings or at-bats lost to regular-season injuries. Manzanillo and Kjeldgaard are members of the taxi squad, meaning they are only eligible on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Ash noted that many taxi squad players wind up on the regular roster as others drop out because of injuries or workload limits. Kjeldgaard won't report to the AFL until after a stint with Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic qualifier in Germany. Manzanillo is particularly in need of innings after a lingering right shoulder injury suffered in an offseason auto accident marred his season. The Brewers were very optimistic about Manzanillo, a hard-throwing relief prospect. "He was less than forthright with us in Spring Training when he said it felt great, when it didn't," Ash said. "He finally had to give it up about early July, I guess." Morris might be the best of the Brewers' AFL bunch. He entered Wednesday batting .294 with 25 home runs and 104 RBIs in 132 games at Double-A Huntsville. "He wants to play, and any time you have a guy who is willing to play more, you try to accommodate him," Ash said. Morris will continue his work with Huntsville manager Darnell Coles, who is serving as the Desert Dogs' hitting coach.
Marcum to start Thursday as trade winds swirl
CHICAGO -- Will Thursday mark Shaun Marcum's final start in a Brewers uniform?The right-hander is healthy again, is a free agent to be and reportedly was placed on trade waivers this week in advance of Friday's 10:59 p.m. CT deadline for teams to trade for a player and have him postseason-eligible. Marcum is aware that there are no guarantees beyond Thursday's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. "I'm sure I would have been traded if I was healthy prior to the [July 31 Trade] Deadline," Marcum said, referring to the deadline for teams to deal players without exposing them to waivers. After July 31, teams can still make trades, but players must pass through waivers first. FoxSports.com reported that the Brewers put Marcum on the waiver wire Tuesday for a period that expires about an hour before Thursday's first pitch at Wrigley Field. If Marcum is claimed, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin would try working out a deal with that club, or he could pull Marcum back. If Marcum clears, the Brewers would be free to trade him anywhere. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke made another public pitch Wednesday for a contender to consider trading for Marcum. "I don't know how many teams there are in contention, and I know that Shaun is better than a lot of their fourth and fifth starters," Roenicke said. "I know that. I look at it, if I was on another team, like we were last year, and we needed a fourth or fifth starter, and I saw Shaun Marcum out there, I know exactly what I would tell Doug." What about injury concerns? Marcum is only one Major League start removed from two months on the disabled list with a stiff elbow, but Roenicke argued that he also made three rehab starts in the Minors without a setback. "Four games is a lot," Roenicke said. "If something was going to show up, I think we would have seen it by now. I understand that there's a little bit [of concern there], but you're not asking Shaun to do this for the next two years. You're talking about right now. You're looking at this small window where you have an opportunity to win." Marcum insisted that trade rumors would not be a distraction. "I have to pitch [against the Cubs], so that is my only focus right now," Marcum said.
Brewers set plan for Uecker statue event
CHICAGO -- Bob Uecker knows the Brewers will have some surprises in store when they unveil his statue outside Miller Park on Friday.The team did announce Wednesday that Uecker's longtime friend Bob Costas would emcee the event, and Uecker is expecting the list of attendees to include Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, "Doc" Severinsen of "Tonight Show" fame and former castmates from the television series, "Mr. Belvedere." Another Hall of Famer, Robin Yount, is traveling overseas and recorded a video message for the event. Beyond that, Uecker is expecting some surprises. "I know they have a bunch of stuff planned they won't tell me about," he said. The Brewers stressed in a news release Wednesday that very limited standing room will be available for the general public, outside of the tent that will house the event. Fans are better off watching on television -- FS Wisconsin will carry the ceremony live beginning at 1:30 p.m. CT, and MLB.com will feature video along with its coverage.
The Uecker statue will stand alongside Aaron, Selig and Yount on the home plate plaza outside Miller Park.
Ash said right-hander Hiram Burgos is a candidate for a September callup, though the plan was subject to change. Burgos, whose style is similar to Brewers command specialist Mike Fiers, was 9-4 with a 2.09 ERA for three Brewers affiliates entering his start for Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday. Former first-round Draft pick Eric Arnett touched 94 mph in a recent outing, Ash said, and has shown signs of progress since a permanent switch to relief. Arnett, 24, was 4-6 with a 5.13 ERA in 14 starts last season for rookie-level Helena and Class A Wisconsin, but has a 3.68 ERA in 32 relief appearances for advanced Class A Brevard County in 2012. "He's been better -- much better," Ash said. "There's at least a chance for him." Another selection from the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Heckathorn, made a similar move to relief this season.