Gallardo in Brewers spotlight

Gallardo in Brewers spotlight

SAN FRANCISCO -- Yovani Gallardo was not Milwaukee's Opening Day pitcher, but he could develop into the next Brewers ace.

At least that was the hope as Gallardo prepared to make his season debut Wednesday night against Randy Johnson and the Giants. Gallardo, 23, will be followed on Thursday by 26-year-old left-hander Manny Parra as Milwaukee showcases the two young arms in its starting rotation.

"You have to develop the young guys," said manager Ken Macha, who wanted a more veteran arm for the season opener and chose Jeff Suppan. "Parra and Gallardo, they've got to get better and make all their starts and be healthy."

Gallardo in particular will be in the spotlight. He is a front-line talent but missed most of 2008 after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Gallardo did return in time to start Game 1 of the National League Division Series, the Brewers' first postseason game in 26 years.

He has a booster in star outfielder Ryan Braun.

"I really believe in Yovani Gallardo," Braun said. "I've seen him perform more than just about anybody else has because we were basically at every Minor league stop. I know how good he is and what his character is.

"Losing CC [Sabathia] was obviously tough, but I have high expectations for Yo."

Regardless of the Opening Day result, the Brewers were happy to get a game in after two straight off-days. It rained in San Francisco through the morning Tuesday, prompting some speculation that the teams might have to play a day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

"For our club, we really need to play today," Macha said as the rain came down. "That would be three days in a row not seeing pitching and that makes it tough, especially when you've got [Giants starter Tim] Lincecum ready to chuck it up."

Johnson is no slouch, either. And neither is right-hander Matt Cain, who is scheduled to oppose Parra on Thursday.

Pitching matchup
MIL: RHP Yovani Gallardo (0-0, 1.88 ERA in 2008)
Gallardo has faced the Giants twice in his career -- both outings were in 2007 -- and has allowed eight runs in 9 1/3 innings. The knee problems that limited him in 2008 did not appear to be a problem in Spring Training, when Gallardo went 3-2 with a 4.18 ERA in seven starts and limited opponents to a .195 average.

SF: LHP Randy Johnson (11-10, 3.91 ERA in 2008)
The Big Unit will make his regular-season Giants debut after spending eight of his previous 10 years with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Johnson, who's entering his 22nd season, needs five victories to reach 300 for his career. He hopes to maintain the momentum he established in the second half of 2008, when his 2.41 ERA ranked fifth among National League pitchers. Johnson struggled against the Brewers last year, losing both of his starts against them while recording a 9.00 ERA. But he's 18-9 with a 3.70 ERA lifetime against Milwaukee.

Gallardo was one of five Brewers on his first Opening Day roster. The others were Mark DiFelice, Casey McGehee, Brad Nelson and Mitch Stetter. ... Mike Cameron turned 36 in January, but he showed Tuesday that he still has some gas in the tank. Cameron stole a pair of bases after working walks in the second and fifth innings, and he legged out an RBI infield hit in the third. Cameron was suspended for most of last April, but he still ranked third on the team with 17 steals. ... As expected, Macha used right-hander Dave Bush in relief Tuesday to keep him sharp for his Saturday start against the Cubs. Bush is beginning the year as Milwaukee's No. 5 starter, and his final Spring Training start was supposed to fall on Monday, an off-day for the Brewers and the date that Minor Leaguers broke camp for the start of their seasons.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN Wisconsin

On radio
• WTMJ 620

Up next
• Thursday: Brewers (Manny Parra, 10-8, 4.39 in 2008) at Giants (Matt Cain, 8-14, 3.76 in 2008), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Friday: Brewers (Braden Looper, 12-14, 4.16 in 2008) vs. Cubs (Rich Harden, 10-2, 2.07 in 2008), 3:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Brewers (Dave Bush, 0-0, 18.00) vs. Cubs (Carlos Zambrano, 1-0, 1.50), 6:05 p.m. CT

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