With its highest payroll ever, the Milwaukee Brewers open the 2011 baseball

Yovani Gallardo

season in Cincinnati against the defending Central Division Champion Reds.

The Brewers have had a challenging spring.  They’ll start the season with five players on the disabled list, including starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

AUDIO: Jonathon Lucroy on missing opening day :09

Lucroy stayed back in Arizona to catch some minor league spring games and will rejoin the Brewers in Milwaukee next week.  His return has been dealt with cautiously.

AUDIO: Lucroy said they’re taking no chances with his return :12

Newly acquired pitcher Zach Greinke also opens on the disabled list and could miss as many as three regular season starts with a rib injury.  Outfielder Corey Hart will also open the season on the sidelines, as well as relievers Manny Parra and LaTroy Hawkins. 

With Greinke out, Yovani Gallardo gets the start against the Reds today.  He’ll be making the opening day nod for a second straight season.

AUDIO: Yovani Gallardo gets his second straight opening day nod :13

The Brewers finished 77-85 a year ago, but they feel they have what it takes to unseat the Reds and win the Central Division Championship.  Gallardo knows the expectations are high.

AUDIO: Yovani Gallardo knows expectations are high :16

Gallardo went 14-7 a year ago for the Brewers.  His career mark stands at 36-24 with a 3.67 ERA in 82 starts.  He’s also the first Brewers’ pitcher to post back to back 200 strikeout seasons since Teddy Higuerra.

The Brewers scratched a workout at Great American Ballpark yesterday because of snow, although the pitchers still got their throwing in.  It’s expected to be clear for the opener today, although chilly in Cincinnati.

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