Michael Olmstead Takes Another Step
MILWAUKEE — If you need a case study in perseverance, just check out the career of righthander Michael Olmsted.
The big, hard-throwing reliever qualified for minor league free agency in early November and promptly signed a major league deal with the Brewers, assuring his first invitation to big league spring training camp.
"It's a dream come true," the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Olmsted said. "My career has been interesting, to say the least."
Olmsted's journey began in 2007 when he was drafted in the ninth round by the Mets out of Cypress (Calif.) JC. The next year, he blew out his elbow in instructional league, necessitating Tommy John surgery. The Mets released him in the spring of 2009.
A workout at Southern California with some Japanese players led to a stint in the Japanese minors for the SoftBank organization in 2010.
While in Japan, Olmsted's father called to say his mother was in the final stages of cancer. To allow time for her son to travel back to California, Susan Olmsted was placed in a medically induced coma. She rallied upon seeing Michael, returned home under hospice care and died 23 days later.
Deciding to give it one last try in 2011, Olmsted attended a tryout camp for the independent Golden League and threw the ball better than ever. Allard Baird, then Red Sox pro scouting director, signed Olmsted on the spot.
Now throwing his fastball at 95-97 mph, Olmsted split 2012 between high Class A Salem and Double-A Portland. In 47 games, he posted a 1.52 ERA with 19 saves, allowing 36 hits and 15 walks in 59 innings while striking out 92. But the Red Sox did not have room for him on their 40-man roster.
"I got several phone calls from different organizations," he said. "My agent and I talked it over and we thought Milwaukee was the best fit for me."
• Outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard fouled a pitch off his left foot and broke a bone during a game in the Arizona Fall League, and he had surgery to repair it. Kjeldgaard was batting .385 with four homers and nine RBIs in seven games.
• Righthanded reliever Jairo Asencio signed a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training. He went 1-1, 4.91 in 30 relief appearances for the Indians and Cubs in 2012.