They would not criticize Zack Greinke for being injured on the basketball court and not the baseball field, but Brewers teammates could not hide their disappointment Wednesday that the team’s prized offseason pick-up will begin the year on the disabled list.
Greinke revealed Tuesday that he cracked a rib playing basketball last month, and club officials expect him to miss at least a start or two in April.
“It’s tough. It is,” said Yovani Gallardo, suddenly the clear favorite for Opening Day. “It’s very harmful, because you want to have a pitcher like that out there every start. But we have a lot of guys here with great talent. We’re going to go out there and work harder until he comes back and joins us.
“It’s a little disappointing for all of us,” Gallardo said, “but I think we all do things that [carry] risk.”
Gallardo was not the only teammate who argued that players can just as easily get hurt playing baseball as playing with their kids, or, as fellow starter Shaun Marcum said, letting loose a sneeze.
“We’re not going to allow this to deter us from what we want to accomplish,” said left fielder Ryan Braun. “Obviously, we’re disappointed. We would have liked to have him healthy for the whole season. But there’s nothing we can do about it now. We can’t go back and change anything.
“Our focus moving forward is finding somebody else to step up and seize the opportunity that is being presented. This isn’t going to deter us from anything.”
The first opportunity should now go to Gallardo, who was already a candidate with Greinke to start Opening Day against the Reds. Gallardo said Wednesday morning that he had not been given any indication of where he would pitch in a rotation that also includes Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson.
Gallardo started last year’s season-opener for the Brewers.
“There’s no doubt we already had a No. 1,” Braun said.