Brewer’s reliever Jeremy Jeffress: “It’s a blessing” to be back home
MILWAUKEE (WITI) — When Jeremy Jeffress became a free agent, there were 15 Major League teams interested in his services — but he wanted to return to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he started his professional career. That could turn out to be a welcome “relief” for all concerned.
“It’s a blessing, to be honest with you. I always — I never wanted to leave. I know everybody, everybody’s welcomed me back with open arms,” Jeffress said.
Jeffress, a Brewers reliever, has a new lease on life, and his Major League career. The 16th overall pick in the 2006 draft by Milwaukee — Jeffress boasted a big arm, but battled problems with marijuana. He tested positive three times, and the last two resulted in 50 and 100-game suspensions.
“They stuck with me for a long time. The psychologist — he’s kept in contact with me through text message, email. He’s stayed with me through the medical issues with the usage back in the day,” Jeffress said.
Jeffress, who enjoyed some success during a brief stint with the Brewers in 2010 was sent to Kansas City in the Zack Greinke deal. He landed in Toronto last year, before being released on April 4th.
The 26-year-old signed a Minor League deal with Milwaukee two weeks later.
Last Monday, July 21st, he was back in the big leagues. At home, in a sense, and sounding like he’s in a good place.
“I’m in a very good place. I have a little girl now — five-and-a-half months old. Very, very clean and sober. Everything’s very well. I’ve actually had some medical problems with seizures, but I’ve got them under control. Been to a women’s and children’s hospital in Buffalo, New York, and actually gave me, put me on the right medication,” Jeffress said.
Those seizures almost forced Jeffress to quit — but he persevered with the love and support of family. Being a father to Jazell may just be the best medicine possible for Jeffress.
“Something came over me as soon as she came out, man. It was the greatest experience in the world. The first Father’s Day was exciting. Everybody’s text messages and all that stuff came through and it brought tears to my eyes,” Jeffress said.
Cincinnati batters may have had watery eyes after facing Jeffress in the ninth inning of last Wednesday’s 5-1 Brewers win. He blew away the Reds and made a strong impression on his teammates in his second tour with the Crew.
“To be honest, I felt very comfortable. Once I got that first pitch out of the way, it was great,” Jeffress said.
“That’s pretty good when you can call up a guy that has that kind of stuff at this point of the season,” Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse said.
“Man, that’s a breath of fresh air right there. I mean, he’s always had the stuff, but to come in and throw strikes and to see a guy throw 98, 100 miles-an-hour, you know late in the game, is welcome on any team,” Brewers infielder Mark Reynolds said.
Going down a rough road seems to have helped Jeffress grow as a man, while making his return to the Major Leagues more meaningful. He might just play a meaningful role out of the bullpen for the Brewers on a road they hope leads to the playoffs.