Braves call up Brigham to join bullpen
Longtime Minor Leaguer finally reaches bigs
WASHINGTON -- Less than a week after earning a promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett, right-handed pitcher Jake Brigham received the call he had been waiting for since beginning his professional career in 2006. After toiling at the Minor League level over the course of 10 different seasons, the 27-year-old finally finds himself in the Majors as the latest member of Atlanta's bullpen.
After placing Williams Perez on the disabled list on Saturday with a bruised left foot, the Braves purchased Brigham's contract from Gwinnett. Brigham will be targeted to serve as Atlanta's long reliever.
"I just started crying," Brigham said when asked about his reaction. "I've been in the Minor Leagues for nine years and I've been with several organizations. When [Triple-A manager Brian Snitker] told me, it was just overwhelming. It was a really great feeling."
Snitker informed Brigham that he would be coming to the Majors on Friday afternoon, before Perez suffered a bruised left foot that will sideline him until after the All-Star break. Had Perez not suffered the injury, the Braves likely would have sent Sugar Ray Marimon back to Gwinnett to make room for Brigham.
Instead, the Braves will option Marimon to Gwinnett on Sunday to make room for right-handed reliever Ryan Kelly, who has also never previously pitched in the Majors. Kelly has produced a 1.15 ERA in the 27 appearances he has combined to make for Double-A Mississippi and Gwinnett this season.
Brigham earned his promotion to Gwinnett after posting a 1.13 ERA and limiting opponents to a .095 battinng average over the four starts he made for Mississippi from May 29 to June 17. Though he was a power pitcher throughout most of his Major League career, he has proven much more consistent since he started to get a better feel for his sinker over the past couple seasons.
"I think learning to throw [the sinker] to both sides of the plate and being aggressive with it has been what this team has been about," Brigham said. "I've just been attacking guys from the first pitch on."
Brigham is positioned to become the 24th different pitcher and 19th different reliever used by the Braves this season.