Why is Yovani Gallardo Starting Tonight?

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo holds his side as he leaves the game with a side injury against the St. Louis Cardinals in the third inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on July 4, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

Yovani Gallardo will be starting for the Brewers tonight.  Normally, he’d be a sight for sore eyes, especially after the rest of the rotation spent four of the past five days joining the “10 Runs Allowed in 2010″ club.  Normally, we’d feel good about the Brewers’ chances of not giving up 10+ runs tonight.

But this isn’t normal.  It’s not normal to put a pitcher back in the rotation 2.5 weeks after he strained an oblique.  It is normal to see that pitcher out for 4, 6, or even 8 weeks.  But 2.5 weeks?  When it’s your 24-year old ace, the guy you just committed $30.1 million over 5 years to?  It doesn’t make any sense.

I’d like to say I don’t know why Doug Melvin and Ken Macha are rushing him back for a start against the Pittsburgh freaking Pirates, but that’s not true — I know exactly why they’re doing it.  Despite the fact that it’s very clear this team is out of the race (and have been out for a very long time), they’re still trying to win as many games as possible because their jobs may depend on it.

We know that pitching with an oblique injury can lead to more severe injuries, like torn rotator cuffs.  We know that Yo is the kind of guy who won’t tell you he’s injured — this is the same guy who blew out his ACL and proceeded to pitch another inning after the injury because he swore to Ned Yost that he was fine.  We know the Milwaukee training staff has a less than stellar history when it comes to determining how long a player should sit out.

My biggest worry is that he’ll re-aggravate the oblique tonight, will try to pitch through it, and will end up hurting himself — and as a result, the entire organization — even worse.  It would definitely be the cherry on top of the turd sundae that’s been this Pittsburgh series, wouldn’t it?

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