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03/09/10 4:10 PM ET

Sore right shoulder shelves Gamel

rewers infielder competing for spot on club's roster

MESA, Ariz. -- Facing a few more lost days in Spring Training, Brewers third baseman Mat Gamel conceded on Tuesday that he may have tried to come back too early from a sore right shoulder.

Gamel first complained of some soreness last week and was held out of Cactus League games for the first three days of the schedule. He said he was ready to play by Saturday but was asked to wait, then he got an extra day of rest Sunday, when the Brewers-Reds game was rained out. So it came as some surprise to manager Ken Macha that Gamel was forced to exit Monday's game against the Mariners in the third inning with a recurrence of his sore shoulder.

"I guess it's not ready yet," Gamel said. "It was feeling better. I guess I just rushed it. ... But it's better to miss a couple now than a couple later."

He would have preferred to not miss any at all. Gamel also missed time last spring with a sore throwing shoulder -- he says this injury is different -- and then saw his numbers slip after the Brewers began bouncing him between Triple-A and the big league bench beginning in May.

Officially, Gamel is competing for a spot on the big league roster this spring, and he remains the team's top option behind incumbent starter Casey McGehee. There is some pressure, then, to be out on the field.

"You can't make a team in the training room," he lamented. "They need you healthy."

Macha agreed.

"Let's make sure we nip this in the bud so he can give himself a chance," Macha said. "If it happens again and he's going to be out two weeks, we've got coverage. We've got other guys we can put on the team."

Adam Heether, who was added to the Brewers' 40-man roster during the offseason, started at third base on Tuesday against the Cubs.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.