SAN FRANCISCO -- Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo felt a particular sense of sympathy when he saw replays of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera crumpled on the warning track with a torn ACL. Rivera hurt his right knee shagging fly balls in batting practice. Gallardo suffered the same injury to the same knee in May 2008, during a game against the Cubs. "That's tough for any ballplayer to go down the way he did," Gallardo said. "It stinks."
The Yankees expect Rivera to miss the rest of this season but he vowed Friday that he would pitch again. Gallardo, who was hurt May 1, 2008, actually pitched later the same year. He made one start in the final week of the regular season and two appearances in the National League Division Series against the Phillies, including a Game 1 start. Here's the big difference: Gallardo was 22 when he was hurt. Rivera is 42. "Honestly, I don't know" how age will impact Rivera's recovery, Gallardo said. "Obviously, it depends on everybody's body. There's some guys that heal, no matter what age, a lot quicker. He's a good overall athlete." What does Rivera face in the coming weeks? "It's tough. It's a lot of hard work," Gallardo said. "When I had to go through it, it was nonstop, every day, rehabbing every day for two, three hours or whatever it might be. For myself, I had the opportunity to come back and pitch that same year, which was unbelievable. I never thought that [would happen]. Honestly, I didn't. I thought I was going to be done for that whole year. "To have the opportunity to come back and have a start before the year was over and then start in the postseason, that was pretty incredible." As for the way in which Rivera was hurt, during batting practice instead of a game, Gallardo said, "It's one of those weird injuries, out of nowhere. It's one of those awkward things. There's a lot of guys out there, running after fly balls, passing time, having a good time. You see something like that happens, it's just crazy, overall." It's also the worst nightmare for a Major League manager, who has enough on his hands with the variables under his control. "I guess when you're around [the game] so long and see so many things happen, you get used to weird things happening," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. He has seen players injured in batting practice before. Former Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly came to mind -- he was struck in the nose during BP one spring and required multiple surgeries. "But to tell a guy that he can't go out and shag balls, that's not the way to do it," Roenicke said. "He's done this for years, it's part of his conditioning, it's part of the fun he has. "You watch [Tim] Dillard for us, and sometimes you wonder, you worry about is he going to run into another player because he's shagging so hard? So all of those things come into your mind, but we can't be safe in everything we do. You have these athletes who are super-competitive, their personalities are not docile. How do you control this group of guys? You're going to have some injuries because of it."