Brewers Gear Up For Opening Day

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Yovani Gallardo makes his fourth opening day start for the Brewers, who begin the season against Colorado for the second time in four years. The Rockies won their 2010 opener at Miller Park.

"Gallardo's our No. 1 guy," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "He's our opening day guy for a reason. He sets the tone for the rest of the pitching staff to follow."

Milwaukee's rotation got a boost last week when Kyle Lohse agreed to a $33 million, three-year contract. Lohse was 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA for St. Louis last season, pitching a career-high 211 innings.

"Yo has the experience and he has the mindset to be a leader on the pitching staff," Lucroy said. "With Kyle Lohse here now, they can mentor a lot of the other guys."

Gallardo is 0-2 in opening day starts.

"Yo's becoming a vocal leader," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "Guys are going to look to him to see what kind of workload they need to do. They are going to look at him to see how he gets along when he struggles a little bit. So, there's a lot of examples that Yo's going to show these young guys on how to go about it."

After reaching the 2011 NL championship series in Roenicke's first season, Milwaukee was third in the NL Central last year at 83-79, 14 games behind the division champion Cincinnati Reds. The Brewers have eight players who are on an opening day big roster for the first time, including pitchers Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers, Jim Henderson and Alfredo Figaro.

"We've got a great group of young guys," Peralta said. "We don't have too much experience, but I think we've got great arms."

Alex Gonzalez, back from season-ending knee surgery, makes his first big league appearance at first base after Mat Gamel blew out his surgically repaired knee early in spring training. Regular first baseman Corey Hart is due back in May from knee surgery.

Ryan Braun, the Brewers' top slugger, again faces questions about performance-enhancing drugs. Before spring training last season, the 2011 NL MVP won his appeal of a positive drug test during the 2011 postseason, succeeding with his argument about a chain-of-custody that didn't adhere to the procedures in force at the time.

Rookie outfielder Khris Davis made the Brewers after batting .262 in spring training with six homers and a team-high 16 RBIs.


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