Opportunity knocked for Ben Gamel in 2017, and he responded with a surprisingly productive season. A 10th-round pick in 2010, he hit .318 from the time of his callup in late April until the end of July (83 games). Gamel faded in a major way down the stretch with a .198/.236/.335 line over the final two months, and those numbers are probably more indicative of who he is as a player rather than the ones he posted before the break. The 25-year-old turned in middling strikeout (22.2 percent) and walk (6.5 percent) rates, resulting in just a .315 wOBA, and the "expected" numbers from Statcast were ugly (.290 xwOBA, .244 xBA). Gamel was a net negative in the field, and given the fluky nature of his offensive numbers, another season of 500-plus plate appearances is no lock. He may be lucky to get to 400 even, as the Mariners could upgrade in left field at some point and relegate Gamel to a bench role.
Gamel (oblique), who was able to take 20 swings off a tee Tuesday, repeated the feat Wednesday and added 20 soft-toss swings, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. Although there's still no definitive timetable on when he might be ready to face live pitching, the increase in workload and intensity, however modest, is encouraging. For his part, Gamel is growing cautiously but increasingly optimistic, as he's been free of setbacks with each step he's taken in his rehabilitation thus far. "I'm trying to do anything I can to speed up this process," Gamel said. "You have to listen to your body, but I'm moving along. It's a good sign that I'm swinging as early as it is. I've thrown a couple times and everything feels good."
Gamel (oblique) moved on to taking cuts off a tee Tuesday, Shannon Drayer of MyNorthwest.com reports. Gamel said that "everything felt great" following Tuesday's workout, but there is not a specific target date set for his return at this time. He's been sidelined since early March with a strained oblique, which was expected to keep him out for 4-to-6 weeks, likely costing him the first few regular season games. There should be an update on his status in the coming days once he's able to ramp up his workload.
Gamel (oblique) practiced swinging a bat Monday, Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle reports. In addition to playing catch Monday, this was Gamel's first time taking swings since injuring his oblique at the beginning of March. As he continues increasing his level of activity, it should become clear when he'll be able to return.
Gamel (oblique) played catch Monday, Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle reports. A more definitive timeframe for Gamel's eventual return has yet to come together, but the initial four-to-six week estimate would lead to him being back by the middle of April. Until Gamel is back in full health, Taylor Motter and Ichiro Suzuki are expected to spend time in left field.
Gamel is out 4-to-6 weeks with a strained oblique, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports. Gamel was scratched Friday with what was reportedly just a tweak in his lower back that would knock him out a few days, but an MRI revealed that the situation was worse. The four-week minimum return date would see Gamel missing the Mariners' opening three games, so he'll likely begin the season on the disabled list. Taylor Motter is expected to start in Gamel's place.