Brewers Tuesday: Close eye on Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo’s future in the World Baseball Classic was going to be determined Tuesday night, and all went according to plan.

Gallardo started Mexico’s exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields, needing 24 pitches to work a scoreless inning. He walked two and struck out three, but most important, his strained groin came through without further issues.

“I felt fine,” Gallardo said. “For me, the main goal was to make sure I’m healthy.

“My mechanics got away for those two hitters, but then I was able to get out of the inning.”

Gallardo said he’s been told by Mexico manager Rick Renteria that he’s going to start Friday’s pool play game against the United States at Chase Field if he’s cleared by the Brewers on Wednesday.

“This was more of a gauging moment,” Renteria said of Tuesday’s outing. ” … All indications are he’s doing fine.”

The Brewers had a member of their training staff and pitching coach Rick Kranitz at the game to closely monitor Gallardo, making sure everything is good with the right-hander.

“I think once he throws an inning to see where he is I think we’ll have a pretty good idea,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said earlier Tuesday. “If he gets through that, I think we’re pretty comfortable with him pitching.”

Gallardo will be limited in pitch count going forward because the injury has prevented him from getting stretched out.

The Brewers are counting on Gallardo to be truthful with them because the temptation to fight through an injury to pitch for his country could be high, even as the tournament progresses.

“It’s a trust thing,” Roenicke said. “But Yo understands what would happen if it flares up again. He probably wouldn’t be our starting pitcher to start the season. He understands what it is.”

Changing the plan: Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez was going to try something different this year in an effort to solve the early-season struggles he’s suffered throughout his career.

Ramirez was going to try to get as many at-bats as possible in spring training, hoping to be in a better groove come Opening Day. The plan is going to have to wait until next year in light of his recent left knee sprain.

“Ramy is a pretty tough guy, but it’s not a time for him to be tough and to get back there sooner,” Roenicke said. “He needs to make sure it’s right. We wanted to give him a lot of at-bats this year and try something different, but that’s not going to happen.”

The one positive in the injury is when it occurred. Given that it happened early in spring training, Roenicke isn’t worried about Ramirez’s availability for Opening Day.

Late start: After missing the start of camp with a leg injury, infielder Bobby Crosby was in the lineup for Tuesday’s exhibition game with Canada.

Trying to make a comeback attempt, Crosby walked and struck out in two at-bats.

In a weird twist, Brewers relievers Jim Henderson and John Axford were tasked with shutting the door on their team Tuesday. With Canada taking the lead in the eighth inning, Henderson tossed a scoreless eighth and Axford struck out two in the ninth to earn the save.

Taylor Green replaced Justin Morneau at first base for Canada and walked and struck out in two at-bats against his big-league team.

“We had a few side bets on the game,” Green said.’s Tyler Lockman contributed to this story.

Ron Roenicke and Taylor Green interviews for this story provided by the Milwaukee Brewers.

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