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Brewers' Gallardo had speedy return from ACL tear

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo defied the knee surgery odds when he returned from a torn ligament in less than five months.

Gallardo was 22 at the time he got hurt in 2008 - a far cry from Yankees closer Mariano Rivera at age 42. Gallardo tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on May 1, 2008, and made a remarkable recovery to start again that Sept. 25 - then took the ball in the Brewers' playoff opener to boot, somewhat forced into duty after ace Ben Sheets injured his arm late in the season.

''It's tough. It's obviously a lot of hard work,'' Gallardo said Friday. ''When I had to go through it, it's nonstop every day for two or three hours. I had the opportunity to come back and pitch that same year, which was unbelievable. Honestly, I didn't think (I would). I thought I was going to be done for that whole year, but to have the opportunity to come back and have a start before the year was over and start in the postseason was pretty incredible.''

While it's a different scenario from Rivera's devastating ACL tear and meniscus injury in his right knee suffered shagging fly balls during batting practice Thursday, Gallardo believes Rivera is in good enough shape to rebound from the injury in fast fashion. Rivera vows to play again by 2013 and not let this send him into retirement before he's ready. He wants to go out on his terms.

''It's tough for anybody, for any ballplayer to go down the way he did,'' Gallardo said. ''It's just weird. It's one of those weird injuries just out of nowhere, one of those awkward things. There's a lot of guys out there running after flyballs to kind of pass time and have a good time. When something like that happens, it's just crazy.''

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is surprised more injuries don't occur during pregame activities, when balls fly every which way.

''When you're around it so long and see so many different things happen, that you get used to weird things happening,'' Roenicke said. ''To tell a guy he can't go out and shag balls, that's not the way you do it. He's done this for years, it's part of his conditioning, it's part of the fun he has. You watch (Tim) Dillard with us out shagging and sometimes you worry a little bit is he going to run into another player because he's shagging so hard. So, all those things come into mind, but you can't be safe in everything we do. It doesn't work out that way.''

Tagged: Brewers, Yankees, Mariano Rivera, Yovani Gallardo, Tim Dillard

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