Big League Stew - MLB

MARYVALE, Ariz. — Surrounded by a quartet of reporters in the Maryvale Baseball Park clubhouse, Yovani Gallardo(notes) was asked on Monday if he had ever started an opening day game of any kind.

"Ummmm, no," he said, after looking at the ceiling and thinking a bit.  

Not even high school?

"Oh, high school, yeah," Gallardo said. "But I'm trying to think. I don't think [I have], even in the minor leagues."

That Gallardo will be on the Miller Park mound for the Brewers when opening day rolls around next month seems like news that should have been a headline in late February.

But if it's the intention of Ken Macha to tab Gallardo as the man to throw Milwaukee's first pitch in 2010, he's not letting on just yet. The Brewers manager has instead been grouping Gallardo, Doug Davis(notes) and Randy Wolf(notes) into a trio of equality and drawing no distinction.

"I'm in the same place that y'all are at," Gallardo said when asked to tip his hand on any potential plans for the opener against the Rockies. "[Macha] hasn't said anything to me."

One would think it's only a matter of time until Macha delivers the good news to Gallardo. The 24-year-old righty made a good argument for himself Monday against the Indians, striking out five while allowing one hit and one run in four innings against a Cleveland lineup that, in the interest of full disclosure, was heavy on prospects and didn't include Grady Sizemore(notes) or Travis Hafner(notes).

Gallardo led Brewers starters with a 3.73 ERA in 2009, but didn't get the opening day nod — the honor went to Jeff Suppan(notes) — after making only four starts in 2008.

Now that he has a full season under his belt, it's my view that Gallardo should be the only choice for the job. He's the future of a shaky Brewers rotation and he deserves the vote of confidence as he tries to refine his control and become the top-level ace many think he can be. Davis and Wolf are fine pitchers, but don't fit in the mold of an opening day starter.

"Trust me, I think about it. I would like to be [the opening day starter]," Gallardo said. "It could be a great experience. Being here [three] years and having that opportunity would mean a lot. But like I said, I can't control that.

"I'll start whenever they want me to start."  

'Duk is in Arizona this week to finish Big League Stew's Desert Drive. Ride shotgun with him at @bigleaguestew

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