Yovani Gallardo Will Not Play for Mexico in World Baseball Classic

Adam LindemerSenior Analyst IFebruary 22, 2009

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo will not suit up for Team Mexico in the 2009 edition of the World Baseball Classic.

Gallardo, who is coming off two knee surgeries (albeit on different knees), has decided to remain in Maryvale, Arizona so as not to risk further injuries sooner than he has to.

In 2008, Gallardo pitched in only four games during the regular season before tearing his ACL. He made a rapid comeback and managed to start two postseason games for the Brew Crew.

Today, he is 100 percent healthy, and he would like to start the 2009 MLB season that way. He will be Milwaukee's ace with the departure of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets.

The decision was made particularly tough when Gallardo realized committing to Team Mexico would mean being able to play on a diamond in his home country for the first time in his life. Still, he opted to play it safe.

He makes annual trips to Mexico to visit grandparents there, but hasn't called the country "home" for the past 19 years.

Every major leaguer has a dream to represent his country, but for Gallardo, that dream will have to wait.

Gallardo is out to prove to the Brewers organization that he can step up, pitch an entire season, and become their ace for years to come.

He needs to become the next Ben Sheets without becoming the next Ben Sheets. (You all know what I'm talking about.)

If Gallardo can become the pitching lynchpin for the Brewers, there is no doubt that he'll be a part of Team Mexico in four years.

He turns 23 on Feb. 27, so by the time the WBC rolls around again, he'll be just 27, and should definitely garner another invitation from Mexico.