The Journal Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak caught up with Milwaukee Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress to discuss his history with the team, his battles with anxiety and epilepsy and his best baseball friend, Will Smith. Jeffress, who turned 30 on Sept. 21, is 4-0 with a 3.68 earned-run average and a WHIP of 1.55 in 19 appearances (one start) with Milwaukee. He was drafted 16th overall by the Brewers in 2006 and is in his third stint with the team after he was acquired from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor-league pitcher Tayler Scott on July 31. Jeffress is playing on a one-year deal that’s paying him $2.1 million. Q. You just turned 30 years old, you made your first major-league start and you registered your first major-league at-bats. September has been a pretty busy and interesting month for you, hasn’t it? A. It’s definitely been fun. It’s always a great time here in Milwaukee. I love the city, love the fans. Yeah, turning 30 was a big step. Glad I made it (laughs). But to just come back and do better than what I was doing in Texas, I’m having fun. And to come back and be in a playoff race with a team that I’ve enjoyed over the years means a lot. The first start, that was to help the team. I’m here to do whatever at this point. Q. You joke about reaching 30. Have you ever looked back and thought about all you’ve experienced since the Brewers drafted you out of high school in 2006? A. Most definitely. I’ve been through a lot of trials. I look at them as little obstacles in life. People make their own path. Unfortunately, mine’s been a little rocky, but I’ve never gotten down on myself. In my head, I never gave up. You go through stuff and you learn lessons. It’s how you bounce back from them. That’s in everything you do. This game teaches you a lot of that because you have to play day to day. So I just keep moving forward, because I’ve got a lot of people on my side. A lot of family, friends, cities. I’m not a cold-hearted person; I’m very warm and welcoming. I just try to do the best I can without getting in anybody’s way. Q. This is your third different tenure with the Brewers. If you take a step back, why do you think you keep wind up coming back? Why has it been such a good fit for both parties? A. I just look at it like I got drafted here, started my career in the minor leagues. I was a first-round draft pick but I didn’t look at it as, ‘I’m a first-rounder, I should be moving up and doing all this stuff.’ I just waited for my time. Pitched when I needed to pitch. I didn’t break (major-league) camp until 2009, and I was drafted in 2006. But I understood their path with me. I was young, I played hard, I hustled. They just loved the personality that I have. Every coach that’s in the organization, I’ve basically played for them a couple times. Spring training has always been a place where I’ve connected with the coaches a lot, whether it be joking around or working on something or going out to dinner or talking about life. Everybody knows what type of guy I am, and it’s definitely just a comfortable feeling. Every time I’m here, every time I see our coaches, it’s great.
Jeffress opens up on DWI, says rehab stint wasn't over substance abuse
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Sep 26