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3/28 Game Thread: one last time through the rotation!

Ben Sheets starts against Noah Lowry. Everyone has known this for months, but Ben is our opening day starter, and the next time he pitches, it'll be...opening day! I'm so excited that I can hardly feel my 1989 Cooperstown Collection Brewers hat.

We've been hitting the roster stuff to death lately, but as the alterations have been made at the edges of the roster in the past week, I've been really pleased. We got very lucky in that we're keeping both J.D. Closser and Mike Rivera; we found Ben Hendrickson a home, so now our two high-potential, low-performance pitchers (Ben and JDLR) are finally somebody else's problem; we picked up a consistent (if consistently unimpressive) bullpen arm in Elmer Dessens; and we cleared a roster spot for one of our young players, so that Rottino or Gwynn will get a chance to show what he's got.

One more note about pitching: some folks have made a big deal about moving Villanueva to the bullpen, as if that's going to stunt his development, or as if it's some sign that the Brewers will never let him start. First off, pitching long-relief (hell, pitching short relief) means he probably can't be plugged into the rotation at a moment's notice, but as we've seen with guys like Adam Wainwright and Jon Papelbon, the transition can easily be made; it just takes time.

Second, the Brewers are going to be more aggressive with Yovani Gallardo than most of us had anticipated. I heard from Will Carroll this weekend that the Crew has a "target date" for Gallardo, and that he's basically going to Nashville to "entertain the fans for a couple of months." Taken literally, that means that, if Yo pitches well, we'll see him on June 1st, whether there's room for him or not. (As battlekow pointed out to me: don't draft Claudio Vargas for your fantasy team.)

At the same BP event where I heard that tidbit from Will, Christina Kahrl said that pitchers don't follow the same predictable arc that hitters do. When they're ready, they're ready: no use making them spend a year dominating triple-A hitters when they could be getting their feet under them in the majors. Gallardo may never be an ace starter, but all signs point to him being ready now; 6-10 starts in Nashville is all the Brewers ought to need to prove it.

If that isn't enough to get you excited about the season, I don't know what is.

Go Brewers!