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Gallardo celebrates new contract with good start

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Associated Press
March 4, 2009
— Yovani Gallardo celebrated his new contract with a crisp outing Tuesday, striking out five and allowing only one hit over two innings in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 8-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

“It was lot better for me than the last time,” said Gallardo, who walked two and allowed a hit in an inning in his first start. “There’s obviously a long way to go and a lot of things to work on.”


Earlier Tuesday, the promising right-hander signed a one-year contract.


Gallardo made three starts before he tore his right anterior cruciate ligament trying to avoid a collision on May 1. He underwent surgery and didn’t return until September 25, when he made one late-season start and two playoff appearances.


The 23-year-old was 9-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 17 starts and 20 appearances as a rookie in 2007.


“The first thing we’re looking for from him is fastball command and he was down in the zone and popping it,” Macha said. “It was a good outing.”


Trot Nixon, Mike Rivera, Casey McGehee and Chris Duffy homered for the Brewers, who snapped a two-game losing streak.


Nixon’s two-run homer, his first hit in 12 spring at-bats, broke a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the eighth.


“He broke the ice,” Macha said.


Daniel Ortmeier and Seth Smith homered for the Rockies, who are winless in seven games.


“The guy’s hit pretty much wherever he’s been,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said of Smith. “He’s got a pretty good swing.”


Career saves leader Trevor Hoffman, signed by Milwaukee as a free agent, retired the side in the seventh, striking out one.


“He was pretty good,” Macha said. “He still has that changeup where they swing right through it even when he comes with it back-to-back.”


Rockies starter Greg Smith, who allowed three runs on three hits and three walks in two innings against the Los Angeles Angels Friday, gave up two runs on three hits without a walk.


“It was top to bottom better,” Smith said. “I wasn’t as anxious, was more comfortable out there and threw more quality pitches.”


Smith remains in the mix for the fifth spot in the Rockies’ rotation.


“I only can do what I can do,” Smith said. “I know it’s a cliche but the reason cliches are cliches is because they’re true.”


Looper shelved


Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Braden Looper will miss his second straight spring training start because of a strained oblique muscle and might not be ready for opening day.


Brewers manager Ken Macha said Tuesday that Looper will not be allowed to throw for the next 10-to- 12 days and might not heal in time for April 7 opener.


“We may have to be prepared for getting somebody else ready,” Macha said.


Right-hander Seth McClung will take Looper’s rotation spot and will start Thursday against Australia’s World Baseball Classic team.


But Looper, on the disabled list only once in his 10-year career, remains optimistic that he won’t be out long.


“I know I’m feeling a lot better,” he said. “I hope I feel good enough Thursday that by my next turn in the rotation I’d be ready to throw to hitters. That’s just my goal. That may be completely not feasible, but that’s what I’m working for.”


Looper, signed as a free agent for $4.75 million just before spring training, was scratched minutes before his scheduled start Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels after he felt tightness in his left oblique during his bullpen warmups.


He has said he first felt a twinge in his side when he sneezed earlier in the week.



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