Results tagged ‘ Yovani Gallardo ’

Opening Day! Edmonds to start

It’s Opening Day and the roof is open at Miller Park, an unprecedented event for the start of the Brewers’ 10th season in their retractable-domed home. 
Here we go with lineups:

ROCKIES
Carlos Gonzalez  CF

Seth Smith  LF
Todd Helton  1B
Troy Tulowitzki  SS
Brad Hawpe  RF
Chris Ianetta  C
Ian Stewart  3B
Clint Barmes  2B
Ubaldo Jimenez  RHP
BREWERS
Rickie Weeks  2B
Carlos Gomez  CF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Jim Edmonds  RF
Casey McGehee  3B
Gregg Zaun  C
Alcides Escobar  SS
Yovani Gallardo  RHP
Gallardo will be making his first career Opening Day start. He’s one of nine Major Leaguers starting their first season opener today, joining budding stars like Kansas City’s Zach Greinke and grizzled veterans like the Dodgers’ Vicente Padilla, a 31-year-old starting his first opener after playing 11 seasons, and 29-year-old Jon Garland of the Padres, who is getting his first Opening Day nod after 10 previous seasons. Here’s the list, courtesy of the Brewers:
FIRST OPENING DAY STARTS IN 2010:
PITCHER/CAREER RECORD
JON GARLAND  117-102
VICENTE PADILLA  98-85
ZACK GREINKE   50-53
SCOTT BAKER   43-33
JOSH JOHNSON  34-16
UBALDO JIMINEZ   31-28
SHAUN MARCUM   24-17
SCOTT FELDMAN  24-21
YOVANI GALLARDO  22-17
Gallardo’s 22 career wins are not the fewest for an Opening Day starter this year. Washington’s John Lannon has a career record of 20-30 but is starting the season opener for the second straight season. 
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Gallardo ready to take over as Brewers' ace

After missing nearly all of the 2008 season with knee injuries, Yovani Gallardo was the Brewers’ de facto ace last season, despite not getting the Opening Day start in 2009.
This year, Gallardo is ready to take the final step toward becoming the Brewers ace.
“Of course, who wouldn’t?” Gallardo said of wanting the role. “It’s just one of those things that I think every starting pitcher would like to accomplish at some point in their career.
“It means a lot to me for the fact that two years ago I missed a whole year, and to be able to get this, this year, it just proves how much confidence they have in me. It just makes me push a little bit harder and work harder.”
With his first Opening Day start just two days away, Yovani Gallardo met with the media Saturday morning to discuss that role and his feelings about Monday’s start against the Colorado Rockies.
Last season, the Opening Day start was given to Jeff Suppan in place of Gallardo, with the pressure of the season’s first game given as a possible reason. Now that he’s been given the assignment, though, Gallardo is not worried about the pressure.
“I don’t look at it as pressure; I look at it as a privilege,” he said. “It is a privilege to me; it’s very important to me, and I’m very excited.”
Gallardo will go head-to-head with Rockies righty Ubaldo Jimenez, who finished 2009 with a 15-12 record. More impressively, though, Jimenez posted an ERA of just 3.47. 
Like Gallardo, the start on Monday will be the first on Opening Day for Jimenez.
Colorado went 92-70 in 2009, finishing just three games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West title and earning the NL Wild Card spot. With a similar squad returning in 2010, many have projected the Rockies to contend for a playoff spot once again.
In fact, some have even suggested they could represent the National League in the World Series. With that in mind, Gallardo is aware of the challenge he’ll face on the field Monday.
“They’ve got a good-hitting team (and) some good young hitters as well,” he said. “We’ve got work to do on that as far as scouting, (but) we’ve still got a couple days before we start doing that.”
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter
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Gallardo named Opening Day starter

It’s finally official: Yovani Gallardo is the Brewers’ choice to start on Opening Day. 
The 24-year-old right-hander has been lined up all spring to pitch against the Rockies at Miller Park on April 5, but Brewers manager Ken Macha waited until Monday — one week out — to make the assignment official. It will be the first such honor of Gallardo’s career. 
“I think he’s ready for it,” Macha said. 
As expected, left-handers Randy Wolf and Doug Davis will follow Gallardo in the season-opening series against the Rockies. The Brewers will wait until Tuesday morning to formally name Dave Bush, who pitched Monday against the Giants, the No. 4 starter. Because of off-days, the team won’t have to name a No. 5 starter until after Opening Day. 
Gallardo had dressed and departed Maryvale Baseball Park when Macha made his long-awaited announcement. He spoke briefly with reporters before heading home but didn’t want to jinx a potential Opening Day assignment.
“It would be great,” Gallardo said. “I would be very excited, honored, a little bit of everything. Getting a chance to start Opening Day, that’s a big deal.”
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Gallardo eying Opening Day

Yovani Gallardo has not pitched on Opening Day since his high school days in Fort Worth, Tex. He would like to be that guy on April 5, when the Brewers kick-start their 2010 season at home against the Rockies.  
“Trust me, I think about it,” Gallardo said. “I would like to be. I think it would be a great experience.”  
Manager Ken Macha’s response?  
“I’ll just say that I’m glad to hear that,” he said.  
Macha has been coy about his pitching plans for the regular season and might remain so until the Brewers’ align their rotation following a March 24 off day. For now, Gallardo is lined up just right to remain on an every-five-day schedule with one extra day of rest before facing the Rockies in the opener. He would be followed by Randy Wolf and then Doug Davis in the series.  
Gallardo is the obvious choice for the Brewers after going 13-12 last season with a 3.73 ERA and a team-best 204 strikeouts. He was a candidate for Opening Day last season but Macha instead chose Jeff Suppan for the assignment, figuring Suppan might be better suited to the hubbub associated with an opener.  
So Gallardo pitched Game 2 instead, and hit a home run off the Giants’ Randy Johnson to win the game. He wasn’t mad about being passed over for Opening Day.  
“Honestly, not really,” Gallardo said. “If I would have got it, I would have obviously been very excited. But I didn’t expect it because I was hurt the year before and didn’t pitch. I wasn’t upset.”  
Gallardo missed most of the 2008 season with a knee injury.  
He got through 2009 without any setbacks and has been cruising through his Cactus League assignments this spring. On Monday against the Indians at Maryvale Baseball Park, he retired the first nine hitters he faced before a pair of former Brewers prospects touched him for a run in the fourth inning. Michael Brantley singled leading off the inning and eventually scored on Matt LaPorta’s sacrifice fly.  
Gallardo escaped without further damage and struck out five batters without a walk in his four-inning stint.  
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Hoffman takes step toward Friday debut

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The all-time saves leader moved a step closer to his Cactus League debut on Monday, when Trevor Hoffman threw 35 pitches in a live batting practice session at Maryvale Baseball Park. The next time he’ll take the mound it will be in a game, on Friday against the Angels.  
“It felt good to get a hitter in there,” Hoffman said. “The next progression will have the umpire back there and no screen.”  
Hoffman has been taking it easy this spring, partly because he only needs a handful of appearances to be ready for the regular season and partly because he has been working through some soreness in his upper back, behind his shoulder.  
Last year, Hoffman pitched much earlier in camp and strained a muscle on his rib-cage. He began the season on the disabled list and did not make his Brewers debut until April 27.  
The Brewers would like to avoid a similar setback this spring, so the team’s medical staff has had Hoffman on a more conservative Spring Training program. Before Monday, he had only thrown from the bullpen mounds at the team’s complex but Monday’s session was on a field with a few dozen fans watching. Six Minor League hitters stepped into the box against Hoffman including outfielder Jose Garcia, who was born in 1991, the year Hoffman converted to pitching.  
Hoffman was not sure how many Cactus League appearances he would need to feel ready for the season. Monday was at least a step in that direction.  
“It’s better than going straight from a bullpen to a ballgame,” Hoffman said. “Live BP, it felt just like it was supposed to.” 
Hoffman enters his 18th Major League season with a record 591 saves, nine shy of becoming the first man to reach 600. He was a National League All-Star in his first season with Milwaukee, posting a 1.83 ERA in 2009 while converting 37 of 41 save chances. 
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In the “A” game today against the Indians, Yovani Gallardo will start for the Brewers. I incorrectly reported yesterday that Chris Narveson would pitch, but he’s slated to go on Tuesday against the Royals. 
Here are the lineups today. Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, of course, were part of the CC Sabathia trade in 2008:
INDIANS
Michael Brantley  CF
Luis Valbuena  2B
Matt LaPorta  1B
Austin Kearns  RF
Lonnie Chisenhall  3B
Mike Redmond  C
Luis Rodriguez  SS
Chris Gimenez  LF
David Huff  LHP
BREWERS
Rickie Weeks  2B
Alcides Escobar  SS
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Jim Edmonds  CF
Gregg Zaun  C
Corey Hart  RF
Adam Heether  3B
Yovani Gallardo  RHP
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The Brewers will play a seven-inning “B” game against the Rangers at 2:30 p.m. local time in Surprise on Thursday. The regularly-scheduled “A” game is at 6 p.m. Dave Bush will start one game and Manny Parra the other, yet Macha was not ready to announce the plan as of Monday morning. 
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Gallardo's contract renewed

Unable to reach a compromise with right-hander Yovani Gallardo before Thursday’s club-imposed deadline, the Brewers renewed his contract on Thursday morning ahead of the team’s Cactus League opener. 

Per club policy, the Brewers did not announce terms of the deal. Gallardo earned $414,000 last season. 
Gallardo, who turned 24 on Saturday and is Milwaukee’s leading candidate to start Opening Day, is a so-called “zero-to-three” player without enough service time to qualify for salary arbitration. Teams essentially can pay such players whatever they want as long as it meets the Major League minimum salary but the sides typically negotiate anyway, partly to keep things cordial for the more difficult talks later on in a player’s career. If they cannot reach a compromise, the team can renew a player’s salary at the figure of its choosing. In March 2008, for example, the Brewers renewed Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart all on the same day. 
The Brewers attempt to take the subjectivity out of such negotiations by paying pre-arbitration players based on a system of performance- and awards-based criteria. The sticking point with Gallardo, according to Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, who is handling negotiations with Gallardo’s agent, former Major Leaguer Bobby Witt, is that one criterion for the club’s pay scale is the Elias rankings system, which takes into account a player’s past two seasons. 
Since Gallardo missed most of 2008 with knee injuries, he loses points and is compensated slightly less than some Brewers who have gone through the system before him. 
“We talked the past couple of days but nothing came of it, so we proceeded [with a renewal],” said Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, who handled discussions with Gallardo’s agent, Bobby Witt. “I spoke with both Bobby Witt and Yovani, and while both don’t agree with our decision, they were very professional. I don’t sense any negativity right now at all.”
Gallardo is on track to be arbitration-eligible following the 2010 season and would be one of the Brewers’ key cases. Fellow starter Manny Parra projects as a first-time eligible player, and Fielder, Hart and second baseman Rickie Weeks will be eligible for the final time before hitting the free agent market following the 2011 season.  
The Brewers could re-engage with Witt at some point about a multi-year deal to buy out some of Gallardo’s arbitration seasons, but if they do Ash said club officials would not talk about them publicly. 
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Gallardo not sweating contract talks (updated)

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UPDATE at 6:27 p.m. CT — I spoke to Gallardo’s agent, Bobby Witt, this afternoon, and he senses that the sides are “probably” headed to a renewal. 

“The Brewers have a system in place to compensate their players, and where they have Yovani and what Yovani thinks, there is a difference there,” Witt said. “Whatever happens, by no means is Yovani going to be upset. He’s going to prepare for the season like he always does. If it does happen [a renewal] it wouldn’t be the first time and it won’t be the last.”

Back to my original post: 
Yovani Gallardo is the only unsigned player on the Brewers’ 40-man roster and the deadline to reach a deal is coming fast. He isn’t sweating it.   
“I was the last one last year, too, so I’m not very worried about it,” the right-hander said. “I let my agent handle that. I’m sure they’ll get something figured out.”  
Gallardo, who turned 24 on Saturday and is Milwaukee’s leading candidate to start Opening Day, is a so-called “zero-to-three” player without enough service time to qualify for salary arbitration. Teams essentially can pay such players whatever they want as long as it meets the Major League minimum salary but the sides typically negotiate anyway, partly to keep things cordial for the more difficult talks later on in a player’s career. If they cannot reach a compromise, the team can renew a player’s salary at the figure of its choosing. In March 2008, for example, the Brewers renewed Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart all on the same day. 
This year, the window for renewals opened Tuesday and closes March 11 but the Brewers’ policy is to renew unsigned players before the team’s Cactus League opener. That means a deal with Gallardo must be struck on or before Thursday, when the Brewers face the Giants in Scottsdale. Gallardo is scheduled to debut on Friday against the A’s. 
The Brewers attempt to take the subjectivity out of such negotiations by paying pre-arbitration players based on a system of performance- and awards-based criteria. The sticking point with Gallardo, according to Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, who is handling negotiations with Gallardo’s agent, former Major Leaguer Bobby Witt, is that one criterion for the club’s pay scale is the Elias rankings system, which takes into account a player’s past two seasons. Since Gallardo missed most of 2008 with knee injuries, he loses points and is compensated slightly less than some Brewers who have gone through the system before him. 
“To this point, we’ve agreed to disagree,” Ash said. 
Witt was not immediately available to comment on his discussions with the Brewers. 
Gallardo was Brewers’ final player in line for a renewal last season before he and Witt agreed to terms on a contract reportedly worth $414,000. Gallardo went on to post a 13-12 record in 2009 with a 3.73 ERA and 204 strikeouts. He ranked fifth in the National League in whiffs, and third with a .219 opponents’ batting average.  
To this point, according to both Ash and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, the sides have only spoken about a one-year contract for 2010. The Brewers have had limited talks with Witt in the past about a multi-year deal for Gallardo but were never able to find common ground. 
Gallardo is on track to be arbitration-eligible following the 2010 season and would be one of the Brewers’ key cases. Fellow starter Manny Parra projects as a first-time eligible player, and Fielder, Hart and second baseman Rickie Weeks will be eligible for the final time before hitting the free agent market following the 2011 season.  
Gallardo is the leading candidate to start the Brewers’ April 5 season opener against the Rockies, though manager Ken Macha has not made official his plans.  
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Spring rotation set

The Brewers have a tentative Cactus League rotation mapped out through the team’s March 24 off-day, and here’s how it looks for the six starting candidates next week:

Wed., March 3 intrasquad game: Dave Bush and Manny Parra
Thurs., March 4 at Giants: Jeff Suppan
Fri., March 5 at A’s: Yovani Gallardo
Sat., March 6 split-squads vs. Giants and at Rockies: Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson 
Sun., March 7 vs. Reds: Doug Davis
There is wiggle-room built in to allow for some adjustments later in March, but you can start to make some educated guesses about how things will line up. An every-five-day schedule plus one extra day of rest would take Gallardo right to the Brewers’ April 5 regular-season opener against the Rockies, followed by Wolf and Davis in that series. There is an off-day on the calendar for April 8, so Suppan might be lined up for April 9 against the Cubs. 
The operative phrase here is tentative, because bumps and bruises, split-squads and B-games, almost certainly will prompt some adjustments along the way. The Brewers plan to have an open competition, especially for the final two spots between Bush, Narveson, Parra and Suppan. 
The first few innings of that March 5 game against Oakland could be interesting. It’s Gallardo’s debut, and he is scheduled to face former Brewer Ben Sheets. 
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Macha might hit pitcher eighth

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We’re planning to roll out story tomorrow morning about Ken Macha readying for his second season at the helm of the Brewers, in which he admits that he may have gotten off on the wrong foot with some of his hitters last spring. While that story is in the works, I thought I would pass along a couple of tidbits this afternoon. 
If he put together a lineup today, Macha said it would look like this: 
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B 
2. Casey McGehee, 3B
3. Ryan Braun, LF 
4. Prince Fielder, 1B 
5. Corey Hart, RF 
6. Gregg Zaun, C 
7. Carlos Gomez, CF 
8. Pitcher 
9. Alcides Escobar, SS  
That’s all subject to change over the next six weeks, of course, especially the idea of batting the pitcher in the eight-hole. The Brewers have tried that alignment a number of times over the past two seasons with varying results, and Macha remains intrigued by either Gomez or Escobar in the nine-spot. The idea is to get another man on base in front of the Brewers’ fabulous three-four hitters. 
“We’ll have to see,” Macha said. “I tried Escobar there last year, and the key is you’ve got to get on base. If you get somebody who gets on at a .360 [on-base percentage] rate, then it has some advantages. It may be something to look at a bit further.”  
As for the starting rotation, Macha said that all six primary competitors for the rotation – Dave Bush, Doug Davis, Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Jeff Suppan and Randy Wolf — would be on an even playing field. Barring injury, though, it seems extremely likely that Gallardo, Wolf and Davis will lead the group into the season.  
Macha wasn’t ready to officially name Gallardo his Opening Day starter, but it comes as no surprise that he’s the leading competitor.  
“It would be nice to put it out there for him this year,” Macha said.  
Macha also ticked off some of his priorities for camp. Look for those in my story tomorrow. 
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The Fielder factor

fielder.jpgThe Brewers lost their arbitration hearing with Corey Hart this week, but one former club official said that, in a roundabout way, they may have also won. 

The thinking is that by taking Hart all the way to a hearing, the Brewers showed that they were not afraid of the process if they believed strongly in their filing number. It had been 12 years since the club had proven so, when then-negotiator Tom Gausden went into a hearing against Jose Mercedes. That was nearly five years before Doug Melvin took over as Milwaukee’s general manager. 
“What you do one year always affects the next,” Gausden said. “Maybe you want the agents to realize that you aren’t bluffing, that they had better file a realistic number.” 
And it just so happens that the Brewers could face a monster of a hearing next year with first baseman Prince Fielder and his agent, Scott Boras. Assuming the sides cannot work out a contract extension, Fielder would be arbitration-eligible one last time before he hits the free agent market following the 2011 season. 
The Brewers also have a couple of key first-time eligibles next year in pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra. Gallardo in particular is likely to get a very substantial raise. 
Gausden, the former Brewers vice president who argued arbitration hearings with Mercedes in 1998 and Mike Fetters in 1994, said that part of the strategy is picking your battles every few years. Otherwise, agents know which teams shy away from hearings and file salary proposals artificially high, to drive up the midpoint in anticipation of a settlement. 
So, the Brewers will pay Hart $650,000 more than it wanted to in 2010, but could have left themselves positioned to save some payroll dollars in the future. Yet another layer to a very complex process. 
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