Results tagged ‘ Yovani Gallardo ’

Gallardo to be skipped; Colome released

Two bits of pregame news today:

– In an effort to limit his workload, the Brewers will essentially skip Yovani Gallardo’s next start and use him next on Sept. 15 in Chicago. Since the team has an off-day Thursday, the other four starters will simply pitch on regular rest in the four days leading up to Gallardo’s outing. The decision came after a Sunday morning meeting between Gallardo, general manager Doug Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash and manager Ken Macha.

“You have to go with it, I guess,” Gallardo said. “It’s in the best interest for me. I know they’re looking out.”

Macha hasn’t decided when Gallardo will pitch after the Chicago game, but there are no plans to cut his season short. Instead, the Brewers could use their other September off-day (the 28th) to give Gallardo some extra rest.

– In a surprise move, the team released reliever Jesus Colome on Sunday. Colome spent 17 days on the disabled list with a right forearm strain before he was activated on Friday, and had not pitched since then. Colome would have been a free agent at season’s end.

According to Ash, the Brewers made the move to free a 40-man roster spot for an additional call-up.

“Nothing out of the ordinary, other than we needed the space,” Ash said. “[Colome] just wasn’t consistent enough.”

The corresponding call-up is likely to come on Monday and the player will be a pitcher, Ash
said. Plausible guesses include Triple-A Nashville right-handers John Axford (26 years old, 9-1 with a 2.77 ERA in 45 appearances at three Minor League stops this season) and Dave Johnson (27 years old, 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA and five saves in 47 relief appearances at Triple-A Nashville). Both Axford and Johnson would need to be added to the 40-man roster this winter, anyway, to avoid being exposed to the Rule 5 Draft.

Ditto for Double-A right-hander Josh Butler, a rising prospect who is slated to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. But the Brewers might not want to rob Huntsville of one of its best pitchers ahead of the Southern League playoffs.  

Gallardo's workload: What do you think?

Yovani Gallardo was outdueled again on Saturday, and now the question becomes how much more the Brewers will let their young ace duel this season.

Gallardo (12-11) took the loss despite his team-best 17th quality start this season while surpassing the 3,000-pitch threshold — a dangerous place, according to club officials, for a 23-year-old pitcher who missed all but four regular-season starts last season because of a knee injury. Considering that the Brewers’ elimination number — the combination of Brewers losses and Cardinals wins that would formally bounce Milwaukee from the NL Central race — fell to 12 on Saturday, the team is considering whether to limit Gallardo’s workload over the final four weeks of the season or just end his year entirely.

“We’ve talked about that,” general manager Doug Melvin said Saturday afternoon. “We did push this start back, and it will happen again. … We may [shut him down] later on, but I don’t know if he would want to do that, either, or if his agent would want that if he has a chance to win 15 games.”
Gallardo was originally lined up to pitch Thursday in St. Louis, but he was bumped two extra days to rest up for the Giants. A team off-day in the coming week means Gallardo will get at least one extra day before his next start, and manager Ken Macha may give him more.
“All I know is there will be another adjustment after this off-day [Thursday],” Macha said. “Maybe a couple of days. We’ll see how that all works out.”
Macha then changed the subject, promising reporters that he would have more on the Gallardo front — a “presentation” — on Sunday morning.

So we will see if Macha has anything for us today. In the meantime, if you were in charge, how would you handle Gallardo over the final four weeks of the season? 

Cameron sits vs. Giants' Cain

As I predicted in my preview of today’s game, manager Ken Macha decided to give center fielder Mike Cameron a breather against Giants right-hander Matt Cain, and is starting Jody Gerut instead. Cameron is 3-for-27 (.111) in his career against Cain; Gerut is 3-for-7.

Manager Ken Macha had some more interesting thoughts this afternoon about Yovani Gallardo, who could top the 3,000 pitch plateau in this game. Macha has been shown a story of other pitchers Gallardo’s age who have reached that level and then experienced injury issues the following season, including Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto of the Reds and former Rays pitcher Edwin Jackson (who is now excelling with the Tigers). The Brewers are keenly aware of Gallardo’s workload, so they gave him two extra days of rest before this start against the Giants and could do the same before his next outing. Club officials have even discussed shutting Gallardo down before the end of the season, but general manager Doug Melvin said that, as of today, there is no such plan in place.

Here’s the lineup:

Felipe Lopez  2B
Frank Catalanotto  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Jody Gerut  CF
J.J. Hardy  SS
Jason Kendall  C
Yovani Gallardo  RHP

Tidbits: Rotation, McClung/Colome, Parra, Escobar, Hart

Some tidbits from manager Ken Macha’s pregame chat with reporters:

— Macha will announce his probable pitchers for the upcoming St. Louis series on Sunday. He’s considering ways to monitor right-hander Yovani Gallardo’s workload, but bumping him back a day in this case would mean Gallardo would miss the series against the Cardinals. Since the Brewers still publicly consider themselves contenders, that would be a tough move.

“Maybe some guys will get extra time and some guys won’t,” Macha said.

— Injured relievers Seth McClung (elbow) and Jesus Colome (forearm) are scheduled to throw 30-pitch bullpen sessions on Sunday morning. McClung has been on the disabled list since July 25 and is trying to rehab his elbow without succombing to a second career Tommy John surgery.

— Left-hander Manny Parra is introducing a cut fastball to his array of pitches, Macha said. It’s a work in progress; Pittsburgh’s Steve Pearce hit one Friday for a two-run double.
Macha offered some words of support for Parra, who is 6-2 over his last nine starts despite a 6.49 ERA and a .341 opponents’ batting average.

“He does have nine wins, and he has a chance to get into the teens,
too,” Macha said. “Everybody has hopes for him to take a couple steps
forward. But looking at the cup half-full, he has nine wins.”

— For now, Macha has scrapped batting the pitcher eighth and shortstop Alcides Escobar ninth. Escobar batted eighth on Saturday for the second straight game.

“If we’re going to have [a position] player batting ninth, he needs to get on or you don’t have any benefit from it,” Macha said.

Escobar entered the weekend with a .292 on-base percentage.

— Corey Hart, recovering from his Aug. 2 appendectomy, threw in the outfield on Saturday and took batting practice. He appears to travel with the Brewers to St. Louis next week before joining postseason-bound Double-A Huntsville for a rehabilitation assignment. The Brewers don’t yet know how many Minor League games Hart would need to be ready for the big leagues.

Early All-Star thoughts…

My two cents on Selection Sunday:

1.  Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are certainly deserving. Braun was the top vote-getter among National League outfielders for the second straight year, and Fielder was one of NL manager Charlie Manuel’s picks. That duo had 133 RBIs entering Sunday’s games, tops of any teammates in Major League Baseball.

2.  Fielder is also one of four first basemen on the NL squad (Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Howard are the others) so it will be interesting to see how/if Manuel is able to get all of those guys into the game. Fielder is second in the Majors in RBIs, but might he be the low man on this impressive totem pole? Here’s why I suggest that:

  • Pujols won the fan vote and will start in front of his hometown fans in St. Louis.
  • Gonzalez made the cut via the player ballot, and that carries some weight.
  • Howard, of course, is a Phillie, and Manuel is his manager.

3.  It has been pretty clear for weeks that Braun would make the cut, so I asked him whether he would participate in the All-Star Home Run Derby for the second consecutive year. Remember that Braun developed some back problems last August that have been a bother from time to time this year.

“I would probably wait to see if I was even invited before I thought about it,” Braun said the other day. “I would want to see where I’m at, physically, before I committed. Having that extra day of rest would obviously be nice.

“But it was a lot of fun last year, I really enjoyed it. If I’m fortunate enough to be invited, I’ll cross that bridge then.”

Braun said he would consult with Brewers head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger before making his decision. He declined the notion that participating in last year’s Derby — he reached the semifinals — had anything to do with his physical woes later in the year.

Fielder took part in the event in 2007, and he finished third this year in a poll sponsored by State Farm Insurance that allowed fans to pick who they would like to see participate in the Derby. Pujols finished first, followed by Howard and then Fielder.

4.  Trevor Hoffman and Yovani Gallardo are having All-Star-type seasons, but missed the cut. Gallardo has the sixth-best ERA among qualifying NL pitchers (2.75) and is tied for fifth in the league with 114 strikeouts. Hoffman, a six-time All-Star, didn’t allow a run until his 18th Brewers appearance and is tied for eighth in the NL with 18 saves despite missing most of April with a rib-cage injury.

I asked Hoffman last week for his favorite All-Star memory.

“Probably when they named the All-Century team [in Boston in 1999],” he said. “I had a chance to go to Fenway Park when I was in high school and Glenn [his brother] was with the Red Sox and take ground balls and batting practice there. To me, that was kind of cool to go back there.”

Hoffman would have appreciated the opportunity to appear in a seventh Midsummer Classic.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized in that regard,” he said.   

Macha sets post-rainout rotation

Brewers manager Ken Macha made his upcoming pitching rotation official after a 1-0 win over the Cardinals on Saturday. Friday’s rainout forced him to juggle things a bit, but here is the plan:

Sunday at St. Louis: Manny Parra
Monday at St. Louis: Braden Looper
Tuesday at Houston: Dave Bush
Wednesday at Houston: Yovani Gallardo
Thursday at Houston: Jeff Suppan

Looper was originally supposed to pitch Tuesday and Bush had Wednesday, but both can bump up and still be starting on regular rest because Monday was supposed to be an off-day. Macha waited for the result of Looper’s bullpen session Saturday morning to make the decision official.

Gallardo threw just 30 pitches before Friday’s game was washed out, but instead of using him in Looper’s place Tuesday in Houston, Macha is essentially counting the rainout as a missed start and using Gallardo on his regular day.

“This will be almost like he’s missing a turn,” Macha said. “You know what? if you just look at the short term you probably say, that’s a tough thing to do. But I think long-term, it will be good for him. He’s got some innings right now, and he’s also had some stressful innings. He pitched five innings a couple of times and had 100 pitches, and those are some stressful innings. I think, in the long run, you have to look long-term as opposed to short-term.”

Empting the notebook on Gallardo…

I wrote two stories that are floating this morning about Yovani Gallardo, who so far is doing just fine at the front of the Brewers’ starting rotation, thank you. It’s all but impossible to get that kid to talk about himself, so I made some calls to the people who knew him before he was a Brewer.
In the longer feature story, I asked around about what Gallardo was like as a prospect at Trimble Tech High School, where he was by far the best baseball prospect the school had ever seen. Turns out he was the same guy he is today; humble, steady, intense.

That story turned into a monster so I had to cut out some good stuff about Gallardo’s hitting prowess back then, but Gallardo’s old athletic director, a rival coach and the scout who signed him all remember some mammoth home runs. Trimble Tech didn’t have its own baseball field until Gallardo’s senior season, and the new place had a Green Monster-style, 30-foot wall in left field to protect a parking lot. At the far end of the parking lot was an auto body shop, then Henderson Ave., which led to a hospital.

Here’s where the stories varied. Gerry Magin, the athletic director and football coach, remembers a game in which Gallardo hit a pair of home runs that cleared the wall, bounced through the parking lot and up the street to the hospital. Conley Wendt, a rival coach, said that bus drivers were afraid of Gallardo breaking their windshields so they parked against the auto shop, but one day Gallardo hit a ball on the roof of that building. Gallardo himself said he remembered hitting a homer off a friend from another school, but said it went out to center field.

“He wasn’t necessarily a great hitter,” said Larry Doughty, Milwaukee’s national crosschecker at the time, “but he hits guys’ mistakes. He still does that today.”

One other tidbit that got cut out: Some day, Gallardo might become Trimble Tech’s most famous graduate.

The candidates include former Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Henry Ford, who started 14 games in 2000 for a team that went to the Super Bowl. Or “Rod” Roddy, who for nearly 20 years urged contestants on the CBS game show The Price is Right to, “Come on down!” Or how about Wendell Middlebrooks? He’s well- known in Milwaukee as the Miller High Life delivery guy.

In a sidebar that I used as the preview note for tonight’s game in St. Louis, I wrote about how close the Brewers came to not getting Gallardo in the 2004 Draft. I was told that even Gallardo expected the Texas Rangers to take him, and when Texas passed, the Brewers had to decide between Gallardo and another high school right-hander from Wisconsin’s Door County.
Hope you enjoy both stories. I’m off to St. Louis this morning.

Soup's next start bumped back

Jeff Suppan’s next start has been moved back one day, allowing for three between-starts bullpen sessions instead of the right-hander’s usual two.

Suppan is 0-2 with a 12.91 ERA in his first two starts including a loss to the Cubs on Sunday in which he issued six walks, including three with the bases loaded. Manager Ken Macha, who met with Suppan on Tuesday afternoon, hopes the extra day helps Suppan sharpen up.

For his part, Suppan is on board with the plan.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It wasn’t a really big issue. [Macha] said, ‘This is what we were thinking,’ and I said, ‘All right.'”

A team off-day on Thursday allowed Macha to make the move without disturbing the rest of his starting rotation. Yovani Gallardo, who had command issues of his own in Monday’s loss to the Reds, will start in Suppan’s place on Saturday against Mets ace Johan Santana. Suppan will start Sunday opposite Mike Pelfrey.

UPDATE at 5:39 p.m. CT — Following the Jeff Suppan front, I wanted to pass along a link to an excellent piece at Brew Crew Ball that includes a rather remarkable stat.

“Lost cause” is too strong because we’re talking about two starts this season, but Suppan obviously needs to get that fastball working so he can play off it with his other pitches. Perhaps this extra day — not to mention a match-up against Pelfrey instead of Santana — will help.

I do know this: Suppan has a long leash. He’s making a lot of money, yes, but he also has what a lot of fans hate hearing about — a track record. At the risk of going all Dennis Green here, Suppan was exactly who the Brewers thought he would be in his first two seasons. He’s in a slump now, and there’s no way the Brewers just pull the plug without giving him time to find his command again.

UPDATE again — Fixed that link. Gave me something to do while watching the paint dry… er, while watching Manny Parra pick. 

Contract talks on back burner

If it seems like it’s been a while since talk of contract extensions for the likes of Yovani Gallardo or Corey Hart, it’s because there has been little movement on the matter.

“We’ve had conversations with both players and agents and it’s a two-way street,” principal owner Mark Attanasio said Friday before his fifth home opener in Milwaukee. “Players are tending to look at being on the upswing of their careers and we’re in a downtown of the economy. That’s their choice.

“I’m not saying we’re cutting discussions off, because I think we might have discussions with one of those players even as we speak.”

Attanasio would not identify the player. Neither would general manager Doug Melvin, who said there had “not really” been contact with Jeff Berry — the agent for Hart — or Bobby Witt — who represents Gallardo — since those players agreed to their 2009 contracts in February.

“It’s not on the agenda,” Melvin said. “If we feel there is a point we should talk again, we’ll do that. If we do something, it will probably be on the quiet side. That’s how Ryan’s [Ryan Braun’s] got done.”

Rosenthal picks Gallardo for NL Cy Young

Saw this posted by my friends at Brew Crew Ball: Ken Rosenthal of picked Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo as his preseason favorite for the National League Cy Young Award. Rosenthal thinks Gallardo could have a breakout a’la Indians lefty Cliff Lee, who won the AL Cy Young Award last season.

It’s certainly an interesting pick in a league that features the likes of Brandon Webb and Johan Santana. And if manager Ken Macha did not want Gallardo to be rattled by the pressure of working Opening Day, I’m guessing the skipper won’t be pointing him to this evening. 

(On a totally unrelated note, other than the fact it involves a Brewers fan blog, go check out Al’s Ramblings and consider sponsoring him for charity.)