"He told me he was looking for a job, so he worked out a deal with me," Melvin said. "I said that we'd see about getting him up to the Major League club, but he said, no, he had to earn his way back."
Branyan has done exactly that, moving from Minor League Spring Training to Triple-A Nashville and now to Milwaukee, where on Sunday he started his eighth stint with a Major League team and his second with the Brewers.
While in Nashville, the 33-year-old led the Sounds with a .359 average, 12 home runs and 36 RBIs.
"I play for a love of the game, and the game's not fun if you don't produce and you're not performing," Branyan said. "I'm going to keep playing this game as long as I can, as long as I'm having fun and playing well."
Back in 2004-05, Branyan also was a Brewer. Since then, he has suited up for the Rays, Padres, Phillies and Cardinals.
With the Brewers, he'll play third base, allowing current third baseman Bill Hall to sit against right-handed pitchers, who he has struggled against.
Brewers manager Ned Yost praised Branyan's story as an example of a player with a strong work ethic.
"Going back to Minor League Spring Training, he went about it right and worked his way back to the big leagues," Yost said. "You've got to give him credit."
Sunday's game in Washington was the first time Yost saw Branyan this season. But given Branyan's history of Major League experience, Yost said he wasn't worried about the left-handed hitter.
Branyan said his success has helped fuel his love for baseball, and this season he's seeing the results of his practice.
"I think I'm just staying within myself, having a consistent approach and keeping it simple," Branyan said.
Michael Phillips is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.