MILWAUKEE -- A handful of games with Triple-A Colorado Springs was all center fielder Keon Broxton needed to fix his prolonged struggles at the plate.After going 3-for-45 with 20 strikeouts in July and being sent to the Sky Sox on July 22, Broxton was recalled prior to Tuesday's series opener
MILWAUKEE -- A handful of games with Triple-A Colorado Springs was all center fielder Keon Broxton needed to fix his prolonged struggles at the plate.
After going 3-for-45 with 20 strikeouts in July and being sent to the Sky Sox on July 22, Broxton was recalled prior to Tuesday's series opener with the Cardinals.
Broxton said that he felt something click for him in batting practice the night he was sent down. He carried that with him to Colorado Springs, going 3-for-3 with a run and two walks in his first game.
"It was definitely a mixture between pressure and working on what I was working on," Broxton said. "So I just got to go back there and relax and just play baseball."
Broxton finished his Minor League stint batting .385 with seven walks and just eight strikeouts in seven games.
"He got on base a bunch of times the first couple of nights, and really the whole time he was there," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It's just getting some confidence and getting some results. I think he got some good results, and hopefully, [that] put him in a good spot to contribute with us."
Broxton takes the roster spot of outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was designated for assignment on Monday. The Brewers will need to make another move on Wednesday when reliever Jeremy Jeffress, who was acquired in a trade on Monday, is activated.
Broxton takes the roster spot of outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was designated for assignment on Monday. The Brewers optioned right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino after Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Cardinals to make room for reliever Jeremy Jeffress, who was acquired in a trade on Monday and will be activated Wednesday.
Brewers' No. 1 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, and fellow center fielder Lewis Brinson will remain on the active roster. Although Brinson, who was recalled last Wednesday and is in his second stint of the season with Milwaukee, has hit two homers and looks to be more comfortable at the plate, Broxton will get the bulk of playing time going forward, Counsell said.
"From the start and from sending him down, I think we expected Keon to come back and probably take some of the playing time. Quite frankly, the bulk of the playing time," Counsell said. "He can be really impactful for us, and that's what we need -- impactful players right now."
Looking back on his poor start to the season in Texas, Jeffress said, one of the things that got him in trouble was stressing about his role in the bullpen. He is determined not to make the same mistake now that he's reunited with the Brewers.
"I don't even care right now. I just want to pitch," Jeffress said. "I want to make sure when my name is called, I get the job done. Worrying about a set role is frustrating. I think that's part of what happened [with the Rangers], worrying about being in a set role. It kind of frustrated me a little bit, and I was thinking too much [while] pitching."
Jeffress' velocity was down this season, as was his spin rate, an important factor for power pitchers, as it creates the rising effect associated with a hard fastball. But Jeffress, who missed time in June with a strained lower back, said he is healthy.
"It's not that I'm tired. I don't feel tired. My body feels actually amazing," he said. "Just getting back to my full potential and full health, I feel like I'm right around there right now."
Matt Garza and Chase Anderson each are moving closer to coming off the 10-day disabled list. Garza, sidelined by a strained right calf, threw a bullpen session on Monday's off-day and could start against the Cardinals on Thursday if he doesn't have a setback. Chase Anderson (left oblique) threw 50 pitches at 85 percent to 90 percent effort in the 'pen on Tuesday and will graduate to facing hitters in batting practice next. That session is tentatively scheduled for Friday.
"I feel great," Anderson said. "Arm feels good, body feels good."
After the BP session, Anderson could be ready for a Minor League rehab assignment. The Brewers hope to have him back in the rotation by the middle of the month.
Carson Mason is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee.