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4/18/2014 8:50 P.M. ET

Former first-rounder Jeffress returns to Brewers

PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers have re-signed former first-round Draft pick Jeremy Jeffress to a Minor League contract, marking a fresh start for a pitcher whose first tenure with the organization included two suspensions for marijuana use and trouble with seizures.

Jeffress, 26, had been let go by the Blue Jays last week after allowing four earned runs on eight hits and three walks in his first 3 1/3 innings of 2014, but still averaged better than 97 mph with his four-seam fastball. Since he has not pitched since April 4, Jeffress will first report to the Brewers' complex in Phoenix, and he'll eventually make his way to Triple-A Nashville's bullpen.

"He still has that plus-arm that you can't find everywhere," Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash said. "So the opportunity to collect a player with this skill set, especially at no acquisition fee, is intriguing to us. We have the history with him, obviously. We know him better than most, so we know what his support system needs to be. I think it's a good risk."

He is no longer on a 40-man roster, so Jeffress is subject to discipline should he test positive for marijuana, and one more positive test would mean a lifetime ban. The White Sox and Rays were among the dozen or so clubs to show interest in Jeffress before he struck a deal with the Brewers to reunite with some of his previous support system, including Ash, general manager Doug Melvin and farm director Reid Nichols, each of whom played significant roles in Jeffress' difficult path to the Major Leagues.

He was 18 years old when the Brewers made Jeffress the 16th overall pick in the 2006 Draft and gave him a $1.55 million bonus. He was promising on the mound but had trouble off it, beginning when Jeffress was sent to league-mandated counseling after testing positive for a "drug of abuse" -- he said later it was marijuana -- sometime in late 2006 or early '07. He garnered a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball in August 2007 after marijuana was again detected in his system, and a 100-game suspension in June 2009 after a third positive test.

Along the way, Jeffress began to struggle with high anxiety, trouble sleeping and seizures, which Jeffress did not get under control until last year, when he was diagnosed with juvenile epilepsy.

He was still struggling with those issues when the Brewers added Jeffress to their roster in June 2010, a reward, club officials said at the time, for his good behavior during his long suspension. Jeffress converted to relief and finished that season with a 10-game stint in the Majors, posting a 2.70 ERA in 10 games, before being packaged with other prospects and traded to the Royals for Zack Greinke in December.

"I think he is much more mature now," Ash said. "He has a child. He has, I think, a different view of life. He has his health in order, in terms of medications that he needs to take for his seizures and so on. He hasn't had one for almost a year now. All of those things, and because of his ability, frankly, he felt good about coming back here. I'm told he had a number of opportunities to go other places, and he chose to come here, because he felt the support system is in place, and he had some unfinished business here. He wants to succeed as a Brewer."

In 40 Major League appearances with the Royals and Blue Jays since the trade, Jeffress has a 4.89 ERA in 40 relief appearances, with 42 strikeouts and 32 walks in 42 1/3 innings.

Herrera making most of brief stint with Brewers

PITTSBURGH -- Two or three days in the big leagues are better than none, Brewers utility man Elian Herrera said Friday.

Herrera, the last position player cut in Spring Training, hustled to Pittsburgh on Thursday after the Brewers placed first baseman Lyle Overbay on the paternity list. Herrera's flight landed in Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. ET, but by the time he got his bags and navigated to downtown, it was after 6 p.m.

He will make the return trip on Saturday or Sunday, depending on when Overbay returns.

"I can say it doesn't matter how short or long the time is," Herrera said. "Every time we are here, we are happy to be here. This is where we want to be, right? It doesn't matter if it's just for a short time, it's good to know that you are one of the first choices for them if something happens, and you can just come here."

There was a time in his career that Herrera resisted the utility role, but has since discovered its benefits. Claimed off waivers from the Dodgers last November, Herrera spent his first Spring Training with the Brewers proving his proficiency all over the diamond, including shortstop and center field. He's also a switch-hitter.

After appearing at five different positions in Spring Training, Herrera started games in center field, at second base and at first base during the first two weeks of Triple-A Nashville's season.

"I just like to be in the lineup, it doesn't matter where," Herrera said. "Before I started playing like that, I always wanted to just play one position. But when I started playing everywhere, I saw I was in the lineup almost every day. I was like, 'OK, it's going to be like that,' because I'm going to be in the lineup every day. For the last three years, I love the role I've been in."

Brewers have eye on rehabbing Hanrahan

PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers sent pro scout Cory Melvin to monitor right-hander Joel Hanrahan's showcase at the University of Tampa on Thursday, and Melvin was not alone. Various reports indicate that 18-20 teams had officials on hand for a look at the 32-year-old former Pirates closer.

Hanrahan, 32, is coming off Tommy John and flexor tendon surgeries and is still working into game shape. The New York Daily News cited a source who was at the workout, saying Hanrahan reached 93 mph and "looked great."

Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash declined to say whether Melvin, who is the son of Brewers GM Doug Melvin, filed a positive report, or whether the Brewers would pursue a deal with Hanrahan. According to Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network and FOXSports.com, Hanrahan will start fielding offers next week.

Last call

• Right-handed reliever Brandon Kintzler threw a "touch and feel" session off the mound Friday for the first time since the Brewers placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a mild right rotator cuff strain. Kintzler will throw a more intense bullpen on Sunday, and expects to be active by April 25, the Brewers' first game after his stint on the DL expires.

"You always take it day by day, but so far we're on track," Kintzler said. "I don't have any pain."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.