SEATTLE -- The Brewers transformed from Major Leaguers into wide-eyed fans on Friday when Ken Griffey Jr. graced the visitors' clubhouse, a guest of Brewers media relations director and former Reds colleague Mike Vassallo. On Saturday, those same players lined the dugout to see Griffey inducted to the Mariners Hall of Fame.
Why was everybody so giddy for this particular player?
"Because it's Griffey," Brewers reliever Brandon Kintzler said.
Kintzler was among a slew of Brewers who got Griffey's autograph, many shelling out $200 for jerseys from the Mariners' ballpark store ahead of the informal visit.
When a reporter remarked to outfielder Caleb Gindl that all of the Brewers' left-handed hitters might try to mimic Griffey's swing after meeting the man, Gindl quipped, "I wish I could swing like that."
He was a fan growing up.
"I had Griffey posters plastered all over my room," Gindl said.
Second baseman Scooter Gennett spent a chunk of his childhood in Cincinnati, where Griffey played from 2000-08. Gennett was 10 when he first met Griffey at a baseball camp, and later played for a pair of touring teams that Griffey once graced.
"I don't want to say he changed the game, but he gave younger guys hope," Gennett said. "He broke into the league at 19 and had so much success as a young person. He was an example that if you were good enough and worked hard enough, you could make it at any age. For me, that was so special.
"It was how he played the game, too. Everything he did was impressive. I would say he gave the game something we'd never seen before."
Gennett, incidentally, was yet to be born when Griffey made his Major League debut for the Mariners in 1989. Neither was starting Brewers shortstop Jean Segura.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was asked whether he considered allowing players to wear backward caps in batting practice in homage to Griffey.
"If they can hit like him, they can do whatever they want," Roenicke said.
Gallardo on track to return during next homestand
SEATTLE -- Yovani Gallardo successfully tested his strained left hamstring in a Saturday bullpen session and remains on track to come off the disabled list early in the Brewers' next homestand.
Gallardo will throw another bullpen on Tuesday in Texas and is eligible to return from the DL on Aug. 15. He's likely to be reinstated to the starting rotation a few days later, either during a four-game series against the Reds, or the subsequent series against the Cardinals.
"The main thing is feeling comfortable, not feeling a thing, and it went well," Gallardo said. "I was able to throw a complete bullpen, and that's a good start."
Manager Ron Roenicke and pitching coach Rick Kranitz spent time discussing the team's upcoming pitching plans on Saturday. The Brewers suddenly have a surplus of arms, with Tom Gorzelanny pitching Saturday after taking a few extra days to calm a bruised elbow, recently-reinstated Marco Estrada set for his second start off the DL on Tuesday, Tyler Thornburg remaining in the rotation to pitch Wednesday, and then Gallardo ready to rejoin the mix sometime in the days that follow.
The Brewers have not formally announced any starting pitching plans past Wednesday.
"Everything is going good right now, I haven't had any setbacks," Gallardo said. "We have to wait and see tomorrow. Hopefully, there's no tightness or soreness there. Then we can go on to the next one."
With the season winding down, Gallardo will almost certainly fall short of 200 innings for the first time since 2010, and 200 strikeouts for the first time since 2008, when he lost most of the season to a knee injury.
Considering his high pitch counts in recent years, and the fact he dealt with diminished velocity earlier this season, Gallardo was asked whether there might be a benefit to his unwanted two-week break.
"I think it does [refresh the arm]," Gallardo said. "Especially late in the season, it's not easy going out there every five days and throwing 100 pitches. But you never want to get a break [because of injury], but when certain things happen, it can be a good thing."
Davis earns DH nod in middle game
SEATTLE -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke did not worry about using a young player, 25-year-old Khris Davis, in the sometimes-trying designated hitter role on Saturday. It was only his seventh Major League start.
"He's been coming off the bench, and it's a little like that, how you treat your DHing," Roenicke said. "It's like being a pinch-hitter, only you do it three or four times. Hopefully, five times.
"He's not a guy that you worry about too much, about him being too nervous or two amped up. He's got a pretty good idea. When you talk to him before he goes to hit, he's thinking and trying to come up with a plan. I think his temperament fits pinch-hitting, fits the occasional starting. It's a good mentality to have."
Davis welcomed the at-bats, saying he simply wanted to "do something while I'm here."
"Some players handle [the DH role] better than others," said Davis, who said his Minor League games in the role were, 'pretty good.' I'm pretty good at flushing away bad ABs. I feel like I'm a patient person. It's pretty easy for me to just take off my [batting] gloves and do something. Maybe go ride the bike and release."
Davis is one of the Brewers' young players with options who could be impacted by third baseman Aramis Ramirez's pending return from the disabled list. Ramirez is expected to DH against the Rangers on Tuesday.
But Davis has made a positive impression on Roenicke and the rest of the Brewers' brass in his second stint in the Majors this season, batting .348 (8-for-23) in his first 13 games after taking suspended outfielder Ryan Braun's spot on the roster. Davis had two hits and made two terrific catches in left field during a game against the Giants last week, and worked a walk on Friday ahead of Yuniesky Betancourt's game-breaking grand slam.
"I feel like I've done some things to help the team win," Davis said. "I feel good with these guys around me. … I feel like everybody here is working together, if anything. At the end of the day, we all want to play, but we also want to win. That puts smiles on faces."