Gallardo hoping rest doesn't equal rust

Gallardo hoping rest doesn't hurt

HOUSTON -- Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo will be extremely well-rested when he takes the mound Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.

Gallardo threw only 30 pitches in his previous outing before it started raining in the bottom of the second inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The game eventually was called, and while the Cardinals went back to Friday starter Kyle Lohse for a Monday night makeup, the Brewers tabbed Braden Looper.

The result is that when Gallardo faces the Astros on Tuesday night, he will have thrown just 1 1/3 unofficial innings in the past 10 days. That amount of rest is not always a good thing.

"He'll be a little strong, but there are ways to deal with that," said catcher Jason Kendall, who might ask Gallardo to throw more breaking balls if he's having trouble controlling the fastball. "He'll get through it. Not much fazes that kid."

Gallardo threw his between-starts bullpen session as usual two days after his start -- Sunday in St. Louis. He downplayed the potential effect of his unusual layoff.

"It wasn't that big of a deal," Gallardo said. "I just had to step back and start preparing for the next one."

The decision was left to manager Ken Macha and pitching coach Bill Castro, general manager Doug Melvin said. The Brewers like to protect their young pitchers from an increase in workload from one season to the next, and Gallardo missed four months last year because of a knee injury. He threw 188 innings in 2007.

"We haven't talked about limiting him," Melvin said. "Ken told me that 'Yo' could come back on [Monday], and I told them it was their call."

"You know what? If you just look at the short-term, you probably say that's a tough thing to do," Macha said the day he announced his rain-altered rotation. "But I think long-term, it will be good for him. He's got some innings right now, and he's also had some stressful innings."

Pitching matchup
MIL: RHP Yovani Gallardo (4-1, 3.09 ERA)
Gallardo is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA over his past five starts, including his first career complete game at Houston on April 24. He has been very good vs. the Astros in his brief career, going 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA (two earned runs in 24 innings) in three starts, including 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA (two earned runs in 17 innings) in two games in Houston.

HOU: LHP Wandy Rodriguez (4-2, 1.90 ERA)
Rodriguez struck out a career-high 11 batters in his previous outing, vs. the Rockies at Coors Field, to record his team-leading fourth win of the season. He has won three of his past four starts and hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his eight outings. Rodriguez will face Milwaukee for the first time this year. In 2008, he was 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA over two games. In his career, he's 3-5 with a 4.55 ERA over 12 games.

The injury to Rickie Weeks left Macha without a leadoff hitter. With a left-hander on the mound for Houston and Craig Counsell out of the lineup Tuesday, Corey Hart filled that role despite entering the series on a cold streak (1-for-12 on the road trip). Hart will probably be atop the lineup on Wednesday against Rodriguez. "He's in a phase right now where he's not swinging the bat real well, but I don't think we have any other options," Macha said of Hart. "As far as a leadoff hitter, we'll have to figure that out. That's why they pay me the medium bucks." ... Macha hinted that he will play Mat Gamel more often at third base than originally planned, partly because Counsell is needed at second base now. ... Casey McGehee delivered a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning Tuesday in his first career at-bat with the bases loaded.

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Up next
• Thursday: Brewers (Jeff Suppan, 3-3, 4.63) at Astros (Roy Oswalt, 1-2, 4.50), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Friday: Brewers (Manny Parra, 3-4, 4.57) at Twins (Kevin Slowey, 5-1, 4.50), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Brewers (Braden Looper, 4-2, 4.26) at Twins (TBD), 6:10 p.m. CT

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