MILWAUKEE -- What’s old is new again, and the Milwaukee Brewers are hoping what’s old is good again as they look to return to the post-season.
Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, Arizona, is the Brewers’ bullpen. It’s a place where Yovani Gallardo has spent many years. Then he left. Now, he’s back, and he hopes to make the roster.
"Yovani’s really about trying to get back to a little more like what he originally, you know, really what he looked like in Milwaukee when he came up. It's kind of our goal with him a little bit,” said Brewers’ Manager Craig Counsell.
It was 2007 when Gallardo broke into the Major Leagues with the Brewers, but his history with the club goes even further back.
“Getting drafted by this organization in 2004, including the Minor Leagues, I was here for 10 years,” Gallardo said.
In the big leagues, Gallardo would win 89 games over eight seasons for the Crew, becoming the team’s number one starter along the way.
"When I first came up, he was one of the starters in the rotation,” said Milwaukee Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson.
During his tenure, the Brewers would reach the post-season twice -- but his success wasn’t just in the win column. It came in the form of leadership and work ethic for younger players like Jimmy Nelson.
“Just watching the way he carried himself on the field and off the field, you know, that’s one of the guys who taught me how to do it when I came up,” said Nelson.
After three years with three different teams, Gallardo is back.
“This will always be home for me, no matter what,” Gallardo said.
Yet, things are different for him in 2018. Along with some gray in his beard, Gallardo’s spot in the rotation is not guaranteed like it was when he was with the team before.
"It motivates you to work even harder and prove, you know, prove people wrong in a way, and go out there and show everybody that I’m still capable of pitching the way that I did back then,” Gallardo said. "This is the first time I’ve been in that situation, but like I said throughout my career, I’ve been able to, you know, make adjustments whenever I have to."
What got Gallardo to the Brewers the first time around, is what Nelson thinks will get him back this time.
"He’s the same guy. That’s one thing that’s admirable about him is he hasn’t changed the way he is or who he is or how he works. He’s always in there working, and he’s always one of the last guys to leave here, so he’s definitely a great teammate to have in here," said Nelson.
The one thing that really stands out is the guys in the clubhouse are rooting for Gallardo to make the team. They want to see him back as a Brewers player and contributing in a great way.