Perseverance pays as Chulk returns to bigs

Perseverance pays as Chulk returns to bigs

ST. LOUIS -- This is what Vinnie Chulk has wanted and worked for.

The Brewers purchased the contract of the 33-year-old right-hander on Sunday because manager Ron Roenicke said they needed a fresh arm. Chulk, who last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2009 with Cleveland, needed a fresh start.

"It's been a long time coming," he said. "It feels good. I got the call yesterday morning and I was pretty excited. Really unexpected, but at the same time that's why I'm still playing. I didn't want to play in Triple-A anymore. I finally got the call back, and now I just have to perform."

Drafted by Toronto in the 12th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, Chulk pitched for the Blue Jays for parts of four seasons before being traded to San Francisco in 2006. He signed with Cleveland in 2009 and appeared in eight games.

He signed with Pittsburgh before the 2010 season but was released in late July and pitched in Japan with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 2010. Chulk signed with Oakland before the 2011 campaign but, like in Pittsburgh, didn't make it back to the Majors with the A's.

"I was with one team for a while with Toronto," Chulk said. "Then when I got traded I started a new thing in San Francisco. But after that it's been team to team to team. So it's been a pretty crazy ride. My wife has been behind me 100 percent and following me. It's good for her to be able to at least know it was all for a good reason."

It has been a wild ride, for sure.

"It's been a grind, to say the least, but at the same time I'm playing a game for a living, regardless if it's in Triple-A," he said. "I have a good time playing and can take care of my family while doing so. I had a little stint in Japan, which was pretty cool, but ultimately I always wanted to come back to the big leagues and to get this call is pretty awesome."

Roenicke will take advantage of Chulk's fresh arm and experience.

"I think it's always nice when a guy battles and he keeps at it," Roenicke said. "We always talk about the perseverance that some players have, and when it turns out well I think it's a neat thing."