For most of his career, Yovani Gallardo has been overshadowed at the top of the Milwaukee Brewers' rotation.
From Ben Sheets to C.C. Sabathia and then Zack Greinke, Milwaukee has had three bona fide aces for the majority of Gallardo's six years in the big leagues. But with Greinke and the other established veterans gone from the Brewers rotation, Gallardo is now the veteran and clear-cut ace of the staff. Unlike in 2009 and 2010 when he was the team's best pitcher but still maturing, Gallardo is now ready to become the leader.
"Of course, who wouldn't?" Gallardo, 26, said of taking on that role. "It's one of those things I think anybody wants at some point in their career. I've been here for a while now, and I've seen Sheets, C.C., Greinke, all of those guys come in and out and here I am.
"It just means a little more responsibility. I just have to go out there and teach the guys; help them out, whatever they need. Just take care of them, basically."
In between Sabathia and Greinke, Gallardo was pretty much all the Brewers had. In 2009, Braden Looper had the next-lowest ERA behind Gallardo at 5.22. Randy Wolf helped provide a bit of stability in 2010, but the rotation still struggled. In 2009 and 2010, Brewers pitchers who ended the season with ERAs over 5.00 started 147 games.
Gallardo will lead another staff filled with question marks this season, but he thinks it's much different this time around -- everyone around him is young and improving.
"It's a bunch of young guys, but look at the kind of stuff that they have, they have great stuff," Gallardo said. "They are not afraid to attack the strike zone. They are not afraid to face anybody that is up there.
"Look at what Oakland did (last year). They did it with a bunch of young pitchers. And we saw what the guys did last year for us. They stepped up when they had to step up. They are aggressive."
Gallardo suddenly the old guy on Brewers' staff
Fox Sports Wisconsin | Jan 31