Brewers Reward Jeffress With Early Place On 40-Man





MILWAUKEE—The Brewers weren't required to place 22-year-old righthander Jeremy Jeffress on their 40-man roster until November.

So why did they do it at the end of June?

"He has been a model citizen with his counseling, rehab, everything," general manager Doug Melvin said. "We would have had to put him on (the 40-man) at the end of the year anyway, and we thought he deserved to be put on now.

"It's something of a reward for what he's done off the field as well as his performance on the field. We had talked about doing this."

Melvin referred to Jeffress' actions in the aftermath of receiving a 100-game suspension last season for testing positive a third time for a "drug of abuse," which he admitted was marijuana. Jeffress already had served a 50-game suspension in 2007.

An ulterior motive for the move was readily apparent, however. Players on 40-man rosters cannot be suspended for testing positive for recreational drug use. As a past violator, Jeffress is subject to testing but the only penalty would be a placement program.

Asked if his elevation to the 40-man would tempt him to relapse, Jeffress said, "Watch my actions. That's what's going to tell. I don't look at it that way. This is my career. Who says they can't take me off the 40-man?

"The Brewers have tested me a couple of times this year. So have the minor leagues. I passed all of those. I will not give them any cause to test me again."

Jeffress, a 2006 first-round pick, returned to action with low Class A Wisconsin in mid-June, switching from a starting role to a relief one because the Brewers thought it would aid his daily focus. He earned a quick promotion to high Class A Brevard County.

Jeffress still talks weekly via telephone with an employee assistance program counselor affiliated with Major League Baseball. He doesn't plan to stop his aftercare treatment.

"That will go on as long as I need it," he said. "Recovery is just like life. You keep going. It's an ongoing thing. It's someone you can talk to you to get thoughts out of your mind that are bad."

MICROBREWS

• Outfielder Lorenzo Cain batted .324/.409/.434 in 244 first-half at-bats for Huntsville to earn a promotion to Triple-A Nashville. He stole 21 bases in 23 tries.

• The Brewers removed Angel Salome from the 40-man roster, helping to make way for Jeffress. Salome's strange season continued. First he took extended leave from Nashville after the birth of his child and then, upon returning, he requested a position switch from catcher to outfield.