PHOENIX — Home is where the heart is, and for Yovani Gallardo, home is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The pitcher was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2007 and played for them for eight seasons before a trade sent him to the Rangers in early 2015. After stops in Baltimore and Seattle, he returned to the Brewers in December.
He couldn’t be happier.
“It’s exciting to get the opportunity to come back and be a part of this club again,” said Gallardo, who born in Mexico and played high school ball in Fort Worth, Texas. “It’s home. I’ve been here since Day One and just to walk back into this clubhouse, it’s special.”
When Gallardo first played for the Brewers, he and Craig Counsell, now the manager, were teammates.
The two played together for five seasons, and Gallardo recognizes how important Counsell is to the organization as a manager.
“He’s great,” Gallardo said. “He was great as a teammate. He was somebody who everybody respected and always went about it the right way. You could just see back then that he would be able to manage a team if he wanted to in the future and here he is now.”
Counsell is excited to have an old teammate back in the clubhouse, even if the circumstances are different.
Even though the two last played a season together in 2011, Counsell acknowledges he still had some insider information on his former colleague when he returned in 2017.
“I always feel it’s like I have some institutional knowledge of the guy,” said Counsell on managing his former teammate. “Really it’s fun when a guy leaves and comes back, and how he’s changed from his former self.”
A lot can change in six years and Counsell is happy with the way Gallardo has matured on and off the baseball field.
“Yo has experienced a lot in the game and he’s really taking it all in,” Counsell said. “He’s, always to me, worked at a very level-headed kind of energy and pace that really works for him. That hasn’t changed at all.
“It’s a wiser kind of Yovani Gallardo, I think that’s where he’s at in his career.”
Gallardo is getting ready to start his 11th season as a major-leaguer, and if he had it his way, he wouldn’t mind ending his career in Milwaukee.
“If the possibility is there I would like to. I owe a lot to this organization,” Gallardo said. “They gave me the opportunity to be where I’m at now. I spent seven years there and you build a lot of friendships. The fans in Milwaukee were great since day one. They always supported myself and the Brewers, and you don’t get that in every other city.”