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09/23/08 9:24 PM ET
Gallardo returns at opportune time
Hurler's role remains murky despite being cleared to pitch
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Prized right-hander Yovani Gallardo was activated from the disabled list Tuesday, but he didn't exactly offer a ringing endorsement of his availability to start one of Milwaukee's remaining regular-season games. Gallardo suffered what initially was thought to be a season-ending right knee injury in May that required surgery. He pitched a pair of simulated games this month in Phoenix and has participated in extensive fielding practice, but said he has not picked up a bat or run the bases since getting hurt. That revelation called into doubt whether Gallardo could start one of the Brewers' remaining games as the team tries to piece together a starting rotation for the final week. Gallardo conceded he would more likely pitch in relief. "It's not up to me," Gallardo said. "I just want to be here and help the team out any way that I can. It's going to depend on what the doctor and the trainer say [Tuesday]. ... I haven't swung the bat, I haven't ran the bases, so starting is kind of 'out there.' We'll see. I just hopefully want to go out there and hopefully get a couple innings and help them out." Gallardo said his status would hinge on a visit with a team doctor Tuesday evening, but assistant general manager Gord Ash said Gallardo was cleared to pitch. The team also activated third baseman Russell Branyan from the DL before Tuesday's game against Pittsburgh. Gallardo tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while covering first base May 1 at Wrigley Field. The extent of his injury was confirmed via MRI scan the following day, and Gallardo said the emotional rehab was just as trying as the physical. "As far as pitching, my arm is in shape, so I guess that's pretty good," Gallardo said. "Fielding your position, covering first base, that's the way that [the injury] happened, so that was going to be a little bit of a challenge for me to get over it. I feel confident. It was a main focus to take more [fielding practice] and cover first base." Gallardo injured his left knee before the start of Spring Training, and the injury required surgery to clean up torn cartilage. He missed the first two weeks of the season, then posted a 1.80 ERA in three starts before he was injured again. Acting manager Dale Sveum would not reveal his plans beyond CC Sabathia's start Wednesday. Gallardo, Jeff Suppan and Seth McClung are all considered options to start Thursday, though Suppan has struggled in September and McClung would be pitching on only three days' rest. "[Gallardo] is built up enough to do whatever we want from him," Sveum said. "We'll make those decisions as the next few days unfold. "We have options there. We have a lot of options."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.