8/9/2014 12:31 A.M. ET
Jeffress hears calling to be closer
By Adam McCalvy and Caitlin Swieca / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Jeremy Jeffress is so thoroughly enjoying his emergence as one of the Brewers' late-inning bullpen options that he can envision a future as a Major League closer.
"In my heart, I see it. I see a closing role," Jeffress said. "But I still have some work to do. Still a couple more winter balls to go to, if I can, to see if I can get it right. Get the consistency going, get in more tight games.
"I feel like this is the calling."
Jeffress was a first-round Draft pick of the Brewers out of high school in 2006 and returned to the organization earlier this year after brief -- and mostly unsuccessful -- stints with the Royals and Blue Jays. He pitched his way back to the Major Leagues with a fastball that touches triple digits on the radar gun, and posted a 1.29 ERA in his first eight Brewers appearances, stranding three of four inherited runners.
Because of the team's need for a reliable right-handed setup man, Jeffress faced four batters on Thursday in the seventh and eighth innings of a two-run victory over the Giants.
"I think any time you see a guy's arm and what kind of fastball he has, it is always a possibility [to close someday]," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Not that every closer has to throw that hard -- there's some great ones that don't. But yeah, I think you look at his stuff and say someday, if he gets command -- and, really, command over the breaking ball, because we know the fastball is good -- then he has a chance to do pretty much anything."
What's changed from Jeffress' tenures in Kansas City and Toronto?
He cites, simply, opportunity.
"Not opportunities to be on the team, because I broke camp with [the Blue Jays] twice, but pitching opportunities," Jeffress said. "Three outings weren't enough for me to get comfortable. Here, I'm comfortable. I'm in good situations. Ron is trusting in me a lot. That's one of the biggest things you need to go out and do your job."
The Blue Jays actually played a significant role in Jeffress' re-emergence with the Brewers, as they encouraged him to drop his arm slot, which led to better command. They also sent him to the doctor who provided answers for Jeffress' long battle with seizures, and put him on a medication that stopped them.
Brewers being cautious with Lucroy's hamstring
MILWAUKEE -- Add catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the list of the Brewers' walking wounded.
Lucroy is batting a minor strain of his right hamstring, troubling enough to manager Ron Roenicke and the medical staff that Lucroy was held out of the opener of the weekend showdown with the National League West-leading Dodgers at Miller Park.
"We were going to give him a day somewhere," Roenicke said. "He's got a little bit of a hamstring issue. It's there. I'm being cautious with it. I don't want him to miss time."
It's that time of year. Shortstop Jean Segura and second baseman Scooter Gennett are still fighting nagging quadriceps strains (though Gennett started on Friday), and left fielder Khris Davis has a sore throwing elbow.
Lucroy, an All-Star starter this season, has been one of Milwaukee's steadiest hitters. He entered Friday among the NL leaders in doubles (second, 38), extra-base hits (fifth, 51), batting average (seventh, .307), OPS (eighth, .867) and on-base percentage (10th, .374). He is on a pace to challenge Lyle Overbay's franchise-record 53 doubles (2004), and to be the Brewers' first regular catcher to bat higher than .300 since Ted Simmons hit .308 in 1983.
Brewers option Wooten to Nashville
MILWAUKEE -- Needing to clear room on the 25-man roster for Saturday's starter, Mike Fiers, the Brewers optioned right-handed reliever Rob Wooten to Triple-A Nashville following Friday's game against the Dodgers.
This was Wooten's third stint in the Majors this season as he's shuttled between Milwaukee and Nashville. This one lasted less than a week, as he came up on Aug. 5 to take the roster spot of Matt Garza, who had just been placed on the disabled list.
Wooten has a 4.59 ERA in 39 Major League appearances this season. He made two appearances during the current homestand and was charged with one run in Friday's 9-3 win over the Dodgers.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.