UPDATE: Brewers agree to long-term contract with Yovani Gallardo

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UPDATE: Gallardo gets a five-year deal (including 2010) with a sixth-year team option, so the Brewers potentially bought out his first two seasons of free agency.
11:45 AM ET: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Brewers “are believed to be closing in on contract extension” with Opening Day starter Yovani Gallardo.
Milwaukee has scheduled a press conference for this afternoon, presumably to announce the deal with Gallardo, who will be arbitration eligible for the first time next season and has three more years remaining under team control.
After missing most of 2008 with an ACL team in his right knee, Gallardo won 13 games with a 3.73 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 185.2 innings as a 23-year-old last season. His control was shaky with the second-most walks in the league at 94, but he also ranked second in strikeout rate and held opponents to a .219 batting average.
Gallardo had good control in the minors and walked just 45 batters in 134.1 innings before suffering the knee injury, so at age 24 he seems likely to take a big step forward this season. In other words, if the Brewers can pre-pay for his arbitration years and buy out a year or two of free agency before his value rises they’ll have taken a very smart risk.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.