Zach Braddock Gets The Call . . . Eventually





MILWAUKEE—A player never forgets that first call to the big leagues.

In Zach Braddock's case, the first call actually was forgettable. The second call was not.

Told he was being summoned from Triple-A Nashville in late May, the lefty went to the airport in Fresno during a Sounds roadtrip.

Braddock received another call before he boarded the plane telling him the move had been postponed. Instead, the Brewers called up catcher Jonathan Lucroy after veteran Gregg Zaun went on the disabled list.

"They always say it's a game of adjustments," Braddock said. "It was so funny to have it personified that day."

The next day, the call came for real, and this time Braddock boarded the plane. Within 24 hours, he was on the mound in Minneapolis, making his major league debut with two shutout innings in a badly needed 4-3 victory.

"It's all about life experiences," Braddock said. "I'll never forget that day."

Braddock, 22, earned that promotion with his dominating turn as a reliever, a role he assumed for good on Aug. 6, 2008.

He advanced to Double-A Huntsville in 2009, in his first full season in the bullpen, while striking out 62 and walking seven in 40 innings. He compiled a 1.79 ERA over 26 appearances.

"I wanted to pick up where I left off in the spring," said Braddock, an 18th-round pick in 2005 who signed a year later as a draft-and-follow from Burlington (N.J.) CC. "Everyone's goal is to pitch in the big leagues and I think I would be cutting myself short to think otherwise."

With a live fastball that he regularly throws at 92-95 mph, a sweeping slider and an occasional changeup, Braddock overmatched Pacific Coast League hitters, striking out 28 in 16 innings over 11 games for Nashville.

All eight of the runs Braddock allowed scored in two-thirds of an inning in a forgettable outing in Albuquerque's launching pad.

It was only a matter of time before the telephone rang. Not once, but twice.

MICROBREWS

Angel Salome wished to shift from catcher to the outfield, so the Brewers reassigned him from Huntsville to high Class A Brevard County. He began the year with Nashville but was placed on the restricted list for several weeks after leaving for a birth of a child, but when he returned he said he wasn't mentally ready to return to action.

• Righthander Jeremy Jeffress finished his 100-game suspension for testing positive a third time for marijuana and joined low Class A Wisconsin. The Brewers shifted their 2006 first-round pick to the bullpen to help him stay focused.