Evening State Sports Briefs: Brewers' Gamel to have knee surgery FridayWisconsin Sports
-- Milwaukee Brewers’ first baseman Mat Gamel will have surgery on Friday for a second repair of the ACL ligament in his right knee.
PHOENIX - Milwaukee Brewers’ first baseman Mat Gamel will have surgery on Friday for a second repair of the ACL ligament in his right knee.
Doctor Gary Waslewski will perform the operation in Scottsdale Arizona, with help from Brewers’ team physician William Raasch. Gamel was expected to start at first base until Corey Hart returns in May. But Gamel re-tore his ACL during Milwaukee’s first full-fledged Spring Training workout in mid-February – and he was declared out for the season. Gamel received a second opinion from Waslewski, and then decided to have the operation. Gamel plans a full rehab schedule, so he can try and return in 2014. He has not played in a game since May of last year, when he first tore the ligament while going for a foul pop-up at San Diego.
The road to a national title begins tonight for the UW-Eau Claire men’s hockey team. The Blugolds will host Saint John’s of Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament. Eau Claire is 20-5-2 overall, with a No. 4 national ranking from U.S. College Hockey Online. They were given an at-large bid in the national field-of-11 teams, after being the runner-up in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. Eau Claire is going for its first national championship since 1984, when they were in the NAIA. 14th-ranked Saint John’s is the MIAC champion, with a mark of 16-7-4. Tonight’s winner will advance to Saturday’s quarter-finals against top-ranked Saint Norbert, the two-time defending national champion.
The NHL’s Nashville Predators called up defenseman Victor Bartley today from their top minor-league affiliate in Milwaukee. Bartley leads Admirals’ defensemen with 26 points this season – including seven goals and 19 assists. He was Milwaukee’s lone representative at the American Hockey League All-Star game last month.
Former Milwaukee Bucks’ center Andrew Bogut is getting high praise from his Golden State teammates – even though his numbers don’t seem to justify it. The seven-foot Bogut has only played in 13 games since the Bucks traded him just over a year ago for high-scoring Monta Ellis. Bogut just came back from another round of back spasms, with four points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes of a Warriors’ home victory over Toronto on Monday night. The Warriors are 7-6 with Bogut in the lineup, and 27-21 without him. And with Bogut in the middle, Golden State has allowed its opponents to shoot at a higher percentage, as the Warriors force fewer turnovers and get beaten on the boards more often. Still, Warriors’ guard Jarrett Jack says it’s crazy to think that his team would be better off without Bogut. Guard Stephen Curry says the Warriors have definitely improved on defense with Bogut’s presence. He was injured often during his six-plus seasons in Milwaukee.
Alex Jaskulski of Edgewood College is the Northern Athletics Conference baseball position player-of-the-week. The junior first baseman became only the second player in Edgewood history to have two triples in the same game. Jaskulski batted .357 in four contests last week with a .643 slugging percentage. Dan Kluss of Concordia-Chicago was named the league’s top pitcher.
The Los Angeles Clippers have won 11 of their last 12 home games – and the Milwaukee Bucks will try to avoid becoming the Clippers’ next victims tonight. The Bucks are going for a season-high five-game winning streak – and their recent success has put them just three games out of home court advantage for the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Bucks’ guard Monta Ellis has averaged 26-and-a-half points in his last four games, while shooting 51-percent. Point guard Brandon Jennings has dished out an average of 18 assists in his last two contests – the most for the Bucks in back-to-back games since Sam Cassell 14 years ago. Milwaukee has not won five straight since mid-March of last year – and if they can match that tonight, the Bucks would improve to three games above .500. The Clippers are 14 above the break-even point, but they’re coming off a four-point loss to Oklahoma City on Sunday in which Chris Paul scored 26 for the Clips. Los Angeles has won 8-of-its-last-10 games overall – and they’re 18-2 in their last 20 appearances at the Staples Center.
It might not be too long before the Green Bay Packers reward quarterback Aaron Rodgers with a new contract. Pro-Football-Talk.com says the deal will be settled sometime soon – most likely this off-season. Rodgers has two years remaining on his current contract, and he’s due to make nine-and-three-quarter million dollars in 2013. That’s a relative pittance compared to the average of $20-million a year that Baltimore’s Joe Flacco recently signed for, when he re-upped for six years in the afterglow of his Super Bowl win. Both Rodgers and Flacco have started for five seasons, and Rodgers has a much greater statistical edge among the two. Rodgers’ career passer rating is 104-point-nine, compared to Flacco’s 86-point-three – and their touchdown passes, career yards, and interceptions have similar gaps. Retired Packers’ center Jeff Saturday recently said on ESPN that Flacco’s deal will help Rodgers at the negotiating table. Rodgers recently said he was confident he’d work out a new deal with the Packers, and he’d like to stay in Green Bay for a long time. The eight-year NFL veteran turns 30 in December.
The competition for the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting rotation will take center stage in the coming days. Manager Ron Roenicke won’t get much of a read on his offense or bullpen, after 13 players took off to play in the World Baseball Classic which starts tomorrow. So the skipper and his staff will a get closer look at the four hurlers who are competing for the final three spots in the Milwaukee rotation this season. One of those four, right-hander Mike Fiers, will start in an exhibition game this afternoon against the Seattle Mariners in Peoria Arizona. Fiers has pitched well in his two spring starts. He has allowed just one earned run in five innings, with five strikeouts. Another contender, left-hander Chris Narveson, gave up a run on three hits in two-and-two-thirds frames yesterday, when the Brewers lost 7-4 to the Canadian national team. Also competing for the rotation spots are right-handers Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta. The Brewers’ ace, Yovani Gallardo, is in the world tournament along with Number-two starter Marco Estrada.
UW-Whitewater has not played a baseball game yet this spring – but the Warhawks still jumped three places in the year’s second national Division-Three poll. Whitewater is ranked 11th by D3Baseball.com The Warhawks open their season tomorrow with a double-header against Saint Thomas. UW-La Crosse is 16th in the new poll, up one place despite not playing a game yet. Stevens Point dropped out of this week’s Top-25, but the Pointers still received votes. Wheaton of Massachusetts is ranked No. 1 at 2-0.
University of Wisconsin junior Michael Mersch has been named the WCHA’s offensive player-of-the-week. Mersch had three goals and three assists from the right wing spot in a pair of Badgers’ victories at Nebraska-Omaha last weekend. He had the first four-point game of his career last Saturday with two goals and a pair of assists. Mersch leads 14th-ranked Wisconsin with 32 points in 34 games.