MINNEAPOLIS -- On Thursday, Brewers left-handed pitching prospect Zach Braddock was 10 minutes from boarding an airplane bound for the big leagues, only to get a telephone call telling him the promotion was off. He was back at the Fresno, Calif., airport on Saturday morning, and you can imagine how tense those final few minutes at the gate must have been.
"I may have turned my phone off," he joked.
Braddock was supposed to be promoted ahead of the Brewers' weekend series in Minnesota, but an injury to catcher Gregg Zaun forced the team to promote a catcher instead. He just happened to be Jonathan Lucroy, Braddock's road roommate.
On Saturday night, Braddock made it to Minneapolis, and the Brewers formally purchased his contract from Triple-A Nashville on Sunday morning. He pitched two scoreless innings in a win over the Twins, stranding a pair of baserunners in a 25-pitch sixth inning before needing only 12 more deliveries in a 1-2-3 seventh. He struck out Michael Cuddyer swinging at a slider to end the sixth inning and caught Brendan Harris looking at a 94-mph fastball to end the seventh.
"That was an excellent first outing, especially with the nature of this game and what's happened [to the team] prior to this," pitching coach Rick Peterson said. "He's never been to the big leagues and only has minimal time at Triple-A. To come in and give us two big innings when we're really short, that's special."
Said Braddock: "The outing was definitely enjoyable. To help the team get to a win was a great experience as well. I'm glad we could have this win."
The team optioned left-handed specialist Mitch Stetter back to Nashville to clear a 25-man roster spot for Braddock, a decision made before Stetter walked the only batter he faced in Saturday's extra-innings loss. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Braddock, the Brewers transferred rehabbing third baseman Mat Gamel to the 60-day disabled list.
Braddock was simply outstanding at Nashville, at least in 10 of his 11 appearances. He held opponents scoreless over 15 1/3 innings in those games, and allowed eight earned runs in the other, a two-thirds of an inning stint at hitter-friendly Albuquerque.
"All of the funny little things that can happen in a baseball game [did]," Braddock said. "Some things didn't go my way. The scores from that series were pretty up there. There's nothing to blame it on, just one of those days. All I want to do is concentrate and move past it."
"He's obviously excited to be here and I'm sure he wants to take advantage of the opportunity," said bullpen sage Trevor Hoffman on Sunday morning. "He's excited. I think he's been sweating for two hours already."