MIAMI -- Brandon Kintzler's road back to the Majors -- which has taken him from Class A Brevard and up through the Minors -- has been a humbling one.
The right-handed reliever, who had his contract selected by the Brewers prior to Monday's series opener with the Marlins, was a bullpen candidate entering Spring Training but was hindered by an elbow injury that forced him to the disabled list in March.
"That was depressing," Kintzler said. "It was very depressing. Everyone was looking at me wondering what was wrong. ... It was everyone against me. It was pretty hard. Spring Training was a mess, it was just a zoo."
After nursing the injury, Kintzler reported to Brevard for a rehab assignment in May and then worked his way to Double-A Huntsville to regain his form. But the righty struggled with his slider, which limited him to two pitches, and the Brewers took him off the 40-man roster on June 28 and outrighted him to Huntsville two days later.
"That was a very humbling experience," he said. "I didn't know if I was ever going to get out of there."
Kintzler eventually made it out of Huntsville in August, when he said things really started to click and he was promoted to Triple-A Nashville. His slider was back and his strikeouts were up -- 11 in 11 2/3 innings of relief with Nashville. His performance, and perseverance, earned him a spot back in the Brewers clubhouse, where he spent brief stints each of the past two seasons.
The Brewers considered bringing up Kintlzer on Sunday, but because he pitched three innings Saturday he was unavailable to pitch Sunday. Kintzler said he was available to throw Monday and manager Ron Roenicke said the righty could be used in the fifth or sixth inning before working into a setup role.
"When you have to go to Double-A and Triple-A to make it back, that's good," Roenicke said. "I think he's close to that guy we saw before he got hurt. ... He's got really good stuff."