Scooter Gennett calls him “Yo,” and said the newest member of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen isn’t as old as he looks. Gennett should know. He played with Yovani Gallardo in 2013 and 2014 in Milwaukee.
Gallardo’s salt-and-pepper beard does make him look a bit older than his actual age. He turned 32 in February. That makes him the third-oldest player on the Reds roster behind Joey Votto and Jared Hughes.
The Reds signed the veteran starter Gallardo on Saturday before the second game of the season against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park and plan to use him in the bullpen.
“I’m excited, to be honest, to join the this club,” Gallardo said. “There’s a lot of young talent in this clubhouse.”
Gallardo has a career record of 113-93. He has started 298 games in 11 seasons and made nine relief appearances: three in his rookie year with the Brewers in 2007 and six last season with the Seattle Mariners.
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“Last year I (relieved) for the second half of the season,” Gallardo said, “and this year in spring training I got a little taste for it. I’m up for anything.”
Gallardo was 4-10 with a 6.28 ERA in 22 games as a starter last season and 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings as a reliever.
Gallardo spent his first seven seasons with the Brewers and returned to the club this spring, trying to make the roster as a reliever. He had a 4.73 ERA in 13 1/3 innings. The Brewers cut him Monday.
The Reds needed help in the bullpen with injuries to Michael Lorenzen and David Hernandez, manager Bryan Price said, and Reds scouts liked what they saw out of Gallardo in the spring. The Reds know Gallardo well from his years in Milwaukee. He’s 3-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 15 career starts at Great American Ball Park.
"He's one of those unflappable guys," Price said. "You can never read his emotions. He's a very seasoned, experienced veteran guy. He does a lot of things. He swings the bat well. He's hurt us with the bat as much as he's hurt us with his arm."
Hot start: Gennett went 4-for-4 Friday in a 2-0 loss to the Nationals. He's the first Red to collect four hits on Opening Day since Ramon Hernandez in 2011.
Gennett hit clean-up on Friday and was in that spot again Saturday. He batted fourth 14 times last season in 141 games.
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“I’ll hit anywhere,” Gennett said. “I was in the four hole a little bit last year. It takes a little while to get used to. You get up in certain situations with an open base or the bases loaded. There were some things I had to adjust in my approach. For the most part, I’m comfortable there. It’s always nice to be behind Joey (Votto) and watch him do this thing.”
Second lineup: Adam Duvall sat Friday, and on Saturday, it was Billy Hamilton's turn to ride the bench.
The Reds are using four players in an outfield rotation. Scott Schebler moved from right field to center field for the second game of the season. Jesse Winker moved from left field to right field. Duvall started in left.
“It’s going to be tough,” Hamilton said. “You’ve got four guys who are, in my opinion, every-day players. The times when we’re not playing, we don’t know if there’s a reason we’re not playing. It’s going to be tough not knowing if you’re going to play that day. I don’t know how Bryan’s going to do it. It’s something we’ve got to deal with.”
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