Gallardo: 'No Classic for me'

There were no surprises when Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo gathered reporters around his locker on Saturday morning.

“No Classic for me,” he said.

Gallardo, Milwaukee’s ace in the making, decided to pass on a chance to play for Mexico in next month’s World Baseball Classic to protect the health of his knees. Gallardo suffered injuries to both knees last season and each required surgery, limiting him to four regular-season starts and two appearances in the playoffs.

“I just think it’s a good decision for me given being injured last year. Of course, I would have loved to go, and hopefully the opportunity will be there the next time around. But after thinking about it, things didn’t go the way I wanted them to last year and I really want to focus on what’s best for me and what’s best for the [Brewers].”

Gallardo informed Mexican legend Vinny Castilla of his decision on Friday night. Castillo is managing Team Mexico this year.

Gallardo’s decision means that only three members of big league camp will leave on March 1 to participate in the tournament. Ryan Braun will play for the U.S., and pitcher Mark DiFelice and catcher Vinny Rottino will play for Italy.

Eric Gagne, Alex Periard and R.J. Swindle passed on a chance to pitch for Team Canada (Periard because of shoulder tightness and Gagne and Swindle because they need to win a Brewers roster spot), and Jorge Julio declined Venezuela’s invitation to pitch. Bill Castro, who served as the pitching coach for the Dominican Republic in the inaugural Classic in 2006, also passed this time because the Brewers elevated him from bullpen coach to pitching coach for the coming season.

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