MILWAUKEE -- Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy was a late scratch from Tuesday's lineup with a sore left hip, a move manager Ned Yost billed as precautionary. Craig Counsell started at shortstop and batted second. "I think it's a little residual effect from playing in the turf in Minnesota," Yost said, referring to the Brewers' weekend series at the Metrodome. "And before it gets any crazier, I'm just going to take him out and put Counsell in.
"He fought it, wanted to play," Yost said of Hardy. "The trainers said he could play, but you know what, with a lefty going [Wednesday for San Francisco], I'll play Counsell tonight and J.J. tomorrow." Left-hander Barry Zito is scheduled to start for the Giants on Wednesday. Yost said Hardy was sore for Monday's series opener against the Giants, but played anyway and hit safely for the sixth straight game. Despite his .206 batting average in June, Hardy entered play Tuesday ranked among the National League leaders in home runs (fourth, 17), and RBIs (seventh, 49). Hardy took ground balls Tuesday but then left the field midway through batting practice. "I'm fine," he said. No regrets: Yovani Gallardo was still all smiles Tuesday, a day after replacing injured left-hander Chris Capuano in the starting rotation and winning his Major League debut. That start could have gone to Carlos Villanueva, a fellow right-hander and a friend of Gallardo's, but Villanueva said he was just as happy to remain in the bullpen. "If they want me to stay in the bullpen, that's OK," said Villanueva, who has flourished in that role. "If they have plans for me to come into Spring Training [next season] and start, they'll let me know. We're a long ways to go this year, so we don't really know what will happen." Villanueva was originally ticketed for the starting rotation at Triple-A Nashville, but won a spot on the Major League roster with a strong Spring Training. He is 5-0 this season with a 3.02 ERA in 28 appearances, all in relief until he made an emergency start for Capuano (groin) on Wednesday in Detroit. When it became clear that Capuano would need to go on the disabled list, the Brewers opted to promote Gallardo from Nashville to join the starting rotation. "Why do I want to break in Gallardo into a spot where Villanueva is already broken into and has done such a good job?" Yost said. "You would be back to square one. You don't have to do it. Yovani has been starting. We know that Villanueva can start, but he's also adapted pretty nicely to this role. This isn't going to be the role of [Villanueva's] career, but for right now he serves a really big purpose for us. He's comfortable in it now, so keep rolling." Said Villanueva: "I guess I agree with that. Since I've been in this role, they want to keep me here right now and I'll try to do the best I can to keep them happy and keep us winning." Prince is king: Yost was thrilled to see Prince Fielder vault to the top of NL first basemen when the latest round of All-Star balloting results were released Monday. The skipper called on Brewers fans to keep voting. "I think that is an awesome thing," Yost said. "I think that would be one of the highlights of the summer for this team, if we could put a starter on the All-Star team, and one that would be very deserving. It would be something very, very special." Paper balloting at Miller Park ended Tuesday. Fans can continue to vote up to 25 times at MLB.com and Brewers.com through June 28 at 10:59 p.m. CT. Line 'em up: Yost revealed his pitching plans for the weekend Interleague Series against the Royals, and he has Jeff Suppan pitching Friday, Dave Bush on Saturday and Gallardo on Sunday. The Friday and Saturday starters were undecided before Tuesday. Had Bush pitched Friday and Suppan on Saturday, both would work on one extra days' rest. Instead, Suppan will work on his regular, five-day schedule and Bush on seven. Yost asked Suppan's preference before making the final decision. Suppan surrendered nine runs and 10 hits at Minnesota on Sunday in his poorest start this season. "It didn't make any difference to him, so we did it like this," Yost said. Don't forget: The Brewers are typically on the field at 11 a.m. CT before day games, good news for Capuano, Bill Hall, Hardy and Suppan. Those four players shot a scene last month for the CBS soap "The Young and the Restless," and the show will air Wednesday. All four "actors" have speaking roles. On deck: Claudio Vargas will take the ball for Milwaukee on Wednesday against Zito and the Giants. The Brewers are 10-2 in Vargas' starts this season.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.