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Gallardo could force Brewers' hand

Gallardo could force Brewers' hand

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MILWAUKEE -- Rehabbing Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo was all smiles after throwing about 50 pitches in a simulated game on Tuesday, and he could force club officials into a difficult decision if he proves he's ready to pitch before the end of the season.

Gallardo has been on the disabled list since the first week in May after undergoing surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He remains a long shot to pitch again this season, but the possibility does exist that Gallardo could pitch out of the Brewers' bullpen if the team wins a spot in the postseason.

"We're monitoring it by the week," general manager Doug Melvin said. "We think the arm is ahead of the knee."

Gallardo posted a 1.80 ERA in his three regular-season starts before injuring his right knee in a start against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He also missed the start of the regular season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his other knee in February.

Melvin said a decision would be made next week regarding Gallardo's next step. Gallardo would have to face hitters more extensively before the Brewers would consider him an option, but the Minor League regular seasons are over and instructional leagues do not begin until the third week in September.

If they cannot find a Minor League stop for Gallardo, he could simply continue throwing simulated games to Brewers hitters, Melvin said. But that carries risk.

"You'd have to really make sure he can pitch," Melvin said. "The toughest part is going to be to determine whether he's ready, and the other toughest part is if you activate him [for the playoffs] and then all of a sudden there's a setback. Then you're stuck. So, that may not be the smartest."

Melvin stressed that these questions are all hypothetical until Gallardo progresses closer to game readiness. Brewers manager Ned Yost had a similar outlook.

"He's rehabbing right now," Yost said. "I'm not going to get all excited about a guy that can't play for us right now. Maybe down the road some time he can, and then it will be different."

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

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