PHOENIX -- The Brewers are urging Yovani Gallardo to take it easy this spring, and the right-hander said that's just fine with him.Gallardo, the Brewers' Opening Day starter each of the past two seasons and a candidate -- with Zack Greinke -- to garner that assignment again, will make his spring debut on Tuesday against the A's. He and right-hander Shaun Marcum are scheduled to make one fewer start than the rest of the Brewers' rotation, a response to both pitchers' heavy workload in 2011. Gallardo worked 226 innings, including his three starts in the postseason. "It's just one fewer [Spring Training] start, and I'm fine with that," Gallardo said. "The less you throw here in spring, the better. You want to be strong in the season, especially that first month."
Gallardo struggled during April and part of May last season before finding a rhythm. He went 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA in the regular season, logging 200 strikeouts for the third straight season and finishing seventh in National League Cy Young Award balloting.Typically, Gallardo begins a throwing program on Jan. 1. This year, he waited until the middle of the month. "It's one of those things where you want to throw enough to show up to spring ready to throw every day in the bullpen," Gallardo said, "but you don't want to go too far."
Hart: Gamel could be Brewers' late bloomer
PHOENIX -- Nobody has been with the Brewers longer than right fielder Corey Hart, who has a good feeling about the latest prospect to get his big league break.Twenty-six-year-old Mat Gamel is slated to take over first base from Prince Fielder. "I could see Maty being like a Nelson Cruz," Hart said. "Always crushed in the Minor Leagues, limited chances [in the Majors]. Sometimes it just takes a guy a little bit longer to figure it out." Hart and Cruz were Triple-A Nashville teammates in 2005 and briefly in '06, before Hart was promoted to the Majors and Cruz was traded to Texas with outfielder Carlos Lee. Cruz struggled to find a foothold with the Rangers, cleared waivers after failing to make the Opening Day roster in 2008 but then broke out as a 28-year-old in 2009, belting 33 home runs and establishing himself as one of the Rangers' regulars. He was last year's American League Championship Series MVP, and some Brewers fans, forgetting the long years between the trade and Cruz's breakthrough, still lament his departure. Perhaps Gamel's story will be different, Hart said. He believes the Brewers could be "better off" in 2011 with the combination Gamel at first and newcomer Aramis Ramirez at third base. "[Gamel] has hit better in the Minors than a lot of us in here. I think he's going to surprise people," Hart said. "One of these days, he's going to 'get it.' I think he's going to be a big part of what we do this year. Obviously, he knows this is his year."
The Brewers' first significant spring injury has sidelined nonroster catcher Paul Phillips, who strained a rib-cage muscle taking swings on Wednesday. The injury is more significant than originally thought, said manager Ron Roenicke, who expects Phillips to be "out a while." ... The Brewers will play a three-inning intrasquad game at Maryvale Baseball Park's main stadium beginning at about 1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. Taylor Jungmann, Mark Rogers, Tyler Thornburg, Manny Parra and Dan Meadows are on the list to pitch, with Jungmann scheduled for two innings. Parra is coming back from elbow surgery, and the rest are young pitchers getting their feet wet before appearing in a "real" Spring Training game.