Now that Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo each have two spring starts in the books, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Tuesday morning that he was close to naming his Opening Day pitching rotation.
“We need to do it soon,” Roenicke told reporters, about 90 minutes before he was to sit with general manager Doug Melvin to discuss the plan. “We need to make decisions.”
Roenicke expected to make the plan public by Wednesday. The Brewers’ season-opener is March 31 in Cincinnati.
It’s a “tricky” call for the Brewers’ rookie manager, Greinke said last week, because the team has three pitchers who started 2010 Opening Day. Greinke handled that honor for the Royals, Gallardo for the Brewers and Shaun Marcum for the Blue Jays.
That trio of right-handers is set for the Opening Day rotation along with two lefties, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson.
Roenicke has spoken individually to all three pitchers and said he was considering a number of factors, including the pitchers’ own opinions.
“We’re very fortunate to have three guys who can start Opening Day,” Roenicke said. “I don’t think too many organizations have that. … The question here, coming into it, was Yovani has been here for a while and he’s a No. 1. Do you go with him because he’s been here and you owe it to him?
“Then, also, talking to the guys, I wanted to know what they were thinking. … Their response to me makes a big difference on where I want to put them, because some guys are like, ‘I don’t care. You put me where you want to put me.’ Other guys are, ‘Hey, I’m expecting to be your No. 1 guy.’ Sometimes you play to that personality.
“It’s just like anything else, you put these guys in a position where you think they’re going to succeed best. If I think Yovani is going to succeed best at No. 2 or No. 3, then that’s where I want to put him. Marcum, he’s a bulldog, probably wants to be that No. 1 guy. Personalities have a lot to do with where we end up slotting guys.”
Matchups also play a role. The Brewers play the Reds on March 31 and April 2-3, then return home for an April 4 home opener against the Braves that begins a four-game series and a seven-game homestand.
“Obviously, you want to win that first game, you want to start your season off [well],” Roenicke said. “But you also want to do the things that set you up for the next days, too.”