MILWAUKEE -- Zach Braddock struck out all five hitters he faced Thursday in a solid start to his Minor League rehabilitation assignment, but the Brewers were unsure as of Friday afternoon when he would be ready to rejoin the big league bullpen.
Braddock was placed on the 15-day DL on May 3 with a sleep disorder and is eligible to return on Monday. But that's the day the Brewers begin a bizarre, four-game West Coast road trip that concludes with a night game on Thursday in San Diego. The Brewers expect to return to Milwaukee at about 5:30 a.m. CT on May 20 and play the Rockies at Miller Park that night.
The scenario is not exactly conducive to someone having trouble sleeping.
"I don't know if we'll have him fly there, or, if he's still fine, activate him when we get back," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We're going to rely on what the doctors have to say about him."
Braddock was a key bullpen piece in 2010, when he posted a 2.94 ERA and was able to retire both left-handed and right-handed hitters. The Brewers currently only have one left-hander in the bullpen, Mitch Stetter, and he is at his best when he faces only lefty hitters.
Roenicke would prefer to carry seven relievers instead of the Brewers' current eight, and a healthy Braddock would help.
"Eight relievers is not ideal," Roenicke said. "It helps if that guy in the bullpen is a lefty and can run through some right-handers. ... So Braddock is important, because last year when he was throwing well, it didn't matter who was hitting."