SAN FRANCSICO -- As one Brewers starter returned to action Wednesday from a strained left hamstring, another literally took some steps in the same direction. Yovani Gallardo's afternoon windsprints produced welcome progress for a club scrambling to maintain a healthy starting rotation.
"I know one thing -- I have to really stay on top of who's starting, because it changes so much," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I like the routine of knowing when we're going into a city how we're set up, and this year, it's like, 'Who's pitching again this series?'"
Eleven different men have started a game for Milwaukee this season, already the same total from all of 2012. In Roenicke's first season as manager, 2011, he needed only six starters all year, and the sixth, Marco Estrada, started only seven times.
Estrada returned Wednesday night after two months on the disabled list, and Gallardo is not far behind. Assuming no setbacks after Wednesday's workout, he will throw off a mound in the coming days and could slot back into the Brewers' rotation as early as Aug. 16 in Cincinnati, the day after he's eligible to be activated.
"The main thing is it being these two weeks and not any longer," Gallardo said. "I would be happy with that. Missing two is long enough. You want to get out there as quickly as I can, obviously with being comfortable with it."
He expressed sympathy for Roenicke and pitching coach Rick Kranitz managing constant rotation turmoil.
"It's definitely tough," Gallardo said. "It's not easy to ... start the year off with five guys, and next thing you know you're scrambling to find pieces to fit in, whether it be a spot start or start two or three times. Pitching is very important to any team. There's so many adjustments you need to make, and when you have those five guys or six guys for the whole year, you know when you're pitching, you know what the plan is ahead of time. When guys aren't 100 percent, the manager and the pitching coach have to make adjustments with what to do with the rotation, and I can only imagine that is not easy for them."