Braun, Gallardo, Hardy near comebacks

Braun, Gallardo, Hardy near comebacks

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Brewers expect to have some of their young guns back in action following Wednesday's off-day.

The team hopes to have left fielder Ryan Braun, who has been nursing a sore Achilles tendon, and shortstop J.J. Hardy, who sat out two games with the flu, back in the lineup Thursday night against the Royals. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo, sidelined since his Feb. 19 knee surgery, threw a short simulated game on Tuesday and will be penciled in to make a Minor League start on Friday.

The most positive development Tuesday belonged to Gallardo, who threw a 10-minute simulated game on a back field at Maryvale Baseball Park. Hitters Gabe Gross, Gabe Kapler and Vinny Rottino stepped into the batter's box against Gallardo, who pitched from behind a screen for the first five minutes of the exercise.

"The first time throwing without the screen felt a lot better," Gallardo said. "It felt normal. That's a good thing. ... Getting in a game is a big step. It helps you know where you're at."

Brewers Minor Leaguers are scheduled to play an intrasquad game Friday.

On Thursday, the Brewers will play a night game against the Royals in Surprise, Ariz. and Braun appears the most likely banged-up Brewer to return to action. He's played just once since March 11 because of soreness in his right heel, which the team believes was brought on by a pair of spikes.

"Braunie should be back playing Thursday," manager Ned Yost said. "He felt better [Monday] ... and they think it was his shoes. They've got him in some orthotics that alleviate some of the [stress]. He's on the rebound. He's going to be OK."

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The team will evaluate Hardy on Thursday to decide whether he'll play, but second baseman Rickie Weeks might need more time, Yost said. Weeks injured his right hand sliding headfirst into second base in Sunday's game, and it was still swollen Tuesday.

Yost also confirmed that Chris Capuano is likely to miss his next scheduled start. It is unclear when that start would have landed, since Yost and pitching coach Mike Maddux were about to shuffle the rotation to separate the Capuano/Carlos Villanueva piggyback.

Capuano exited his start against the Mariners on Monday complaining of soreness in his surgically repaired left elbow.

He will take a few days off before head team physician William Raasch examines the elbow on Friday.

"We'll just have to see where he's at," Yost said.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.