MILWAUKEE—Yes, you can go home again.
Just ask Jeremy Jeffress, the prodigal son and former Brewers No. 1 draft pick who found his way back into a Milwaukee uniform in July. The 26-year-old righthander had his contract selected from Triple-A Nashville, where he excelled in relief after rejoining the organization.
“I did not think I would be back,” aid Jeffress, the team’s first-round pick in 2006. “I know my time here was a great experience. It was home for me. I felt comfortable here.
“Just a big homecoming, you know? It’s a blessing, to be honest with you.”
Jeffress’ first stint in the organization was a roller-coaster ride. He tested positive for marijuana use on three occasions, drawing suspensions of 50 and 100 games in the minors. He did reach the majors in 2010 but was traded to Kansas City after the season as part of the blockbuster Zack Greinke deal.
The hard-throwing Jeffress saw brief action in 2011 and 2012 with the Royals before being purchased by Toronto. He made a total of 13 appearances, including three this year before being released in April. Shortly afterward, he signed a minor league deal to rejoin the Brewers.
Used in a variety of roles in the Nashville bullpen, including closer, Jeffress compiled a 4-1, 1.51 record with five saves in 30 appearances, with 45 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings.
Still throwing regularly in the high 90s, Jeffress was summoned by the Brewers, who were in need of another righthander in the late innings. It is a second chance that he never could have imagined but Jeffress seemed ready to make the most of it.
“I’m in a very good place,” said Jeffress, who finally got a handle on seizures he had experienced while in Toronto. “I have a little girl now, five and a half months old. I’m very clean and sober. I’ve been very well.”
As for how he has changed as a pitcher in the interim, he said, “I attack hitters better. I’m not just trying to strike everybody out. Pitching is a very strategic thing and you have to do it well to be in the big leagues.”
• Lefthander Wei-Chung Wang, the Rule 5 draft pick who went on the DL in July with shoulder tightness, was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League on rehab assignment on Aug. 3.