Originally written March 11, 2012 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
PHOENIX Yovani Gallardo is one step closer to being ready for the regular season. The Brewers right-hander threw 45 pitches in a 3.1-inning effort Sunday in Milwaukee's 5-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Maryvale Baseball Park. Gallardo allowed a walk and three hits in his second Cactus League start of the year and has yet to allow a run in 5.1 innings of work. "I ran into a little trouble there in the second inning, leaving my off-speed stuff up in the zone. Overall, I think my command is still getting better. I walked a guy, but it's a matter of working my other pitches in there." He struck out two Colorado batters Sunday, bringing his exhibition season total to six but Gallardo, who established a career high with 207 strikeouts in 2011 and became the first Brewers pitcher to record 200 or more in three consecutive seasons, is more concerned with his location than statistics at this point. "It's more location," Gallardo said. "That's a huge part in the first couple starts in spring. You don't want to go out there and walk five guys in three innings. Command is where everything starts." Manager Ron Roenicke had stressed the importance of being efficient with pitches. Gallardo struggled at times last season working deep into games because of high pitch counts but he's seen some progress this spring. "Yo, real good again," Roenicke said. "Some balls up in the zone, but good life on his fastball. Threw some good changeups -- quite a few changeups; nice to see. Had one real good curveball that was hit hard; I was surprised. "But Yo was real good again." Close call: Outfielder Nyjer Morgan was out of the lineup Sunday, a day after getting hit in the helmet by a Barry Zito pitch. Morgan was drilled in the first inning of the Brewers' 13-3 split-squad loss to the Giants in Scottsdale. He remained in the game and advanced to first base and after playing the bottom of the first in center field, was removed for precautionary reasons. Sunday morning, Morgan was examined by team doctors and though he passed all tests, was given the day off, again as a precautionary measure. "He's fine," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's able to play, but we thought with the off-day tomorrow, we'd just give him off today. He's going to hit extra and do some extra work here. We really don't need to do this, but it kind of makes sense." Morgan wasn't the only Brewers player to experience some brush-back Saturday. At Maryvale, third baseman Aramis Ramirez almost took a Ryan Demptster offering to the head in Milwaukee's 6-1 loss to the Cubs. Afterward, Demptster denied that he was throwing intentionally at Ramirez, who played with the Cubs for the last nine seasons before signing with Milwaukee as a free agent over the winter. "Nooo," Dempster told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "It just got away. I've seen him too many times to leave it out over the plate. . . . I was just trying to go inside. In the back of your mind, you don't want to hit him, so you end kind of letting go a little early." Perez out: Left-hander Juan Perez will be out the next five to seven days after suffering a collapsed lung. Perez complained of chest pain Sunday morning and was taken to nearby Maryvale Hospital where the partially-collapsed left lung was discovered. Perez, 33, had been a pleasant surprise in camp, allowing just two hits in 3.1 scoreless innings of work. He was signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp in December 2011. Over the course of 12 seasons, Perez has appeared in 32 major league games, posting a 1-1 record and a 4.79 ERA. Take a break: The Brewers will get a day off Monday and for Roenicke, the break comes at a good time. Pitchers and catchers reported for camp on Feb. 19 and though the first full-squad workout wasn't scheduled until Feb. 25, many position players were at Maryvale well in advance. "I think it's nice to get away," Roenicke said. "Not just from the games, but we've been here eight days -- 13 days for the pitchers. That's a long haul, every day, to be going at it. Physically, it helps you, but mentally it's important, too." Players are welcome to come in and work out Monday and pitching coach Rick Kranitz will be working with several pitchers who need to get their throwing in. Other than that, the Brewers will be out enjoying the Arizona sun for a day. On deck: The Brewers are off Monday but return to Cactus League action Tuesday when they face the A's and Mariners in split-squad affairs. Right-hander Mike Fiers (0-0, 13.50) will start for the Brewers against Oakland at Phoenix Municipal Stadium while lefty Randy Wolf takes the hill at Maryvale against Seattle. Both games get underway at 3:05 p.m. CDT. Follow Andrew Wagner on Twitter.

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