Kintzler: Every Day In The Big Leagues Is A Gift
MILWAUKEE – Even before Brewers pitcher Brandon Kintzler was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday, he had a good idea it was going to happen at some point.
“I understand the business now that it’s going to happen sooner or later,” said Kintzler in an interview with PocketDoppler earlier this week.
Kintzler was sent down to the minors in order to make room for starting pitcher Marco Estrada who’s filling the role of the fifth starter while Zack Greinke is on the disabled list.
With not only Greinke on the mend, but also with Corey Hart, Jonathan Lucroy, LaTroy Hawkins and Manny Parra all set to come off the disabled list soon as well, it was inevitable that Kintzler would go down to Nashville in due course.
Despite such circumstances, the relief pitcher is keeping his head held high.
“All I can do is just pitch as good as I can to where I have to make another tough decision on them to where they think they need to keep me around,” said Kintzler. “But if I don’t, then go back to Triple A, and you’re still on the 40-man (roster); you’re still able to come up and down.
“Two years ago I wasn’t even in the equation to be talked about it. Now I’ll actually be in the conversation to be here. So that’s cool with me.”
Kintzler exceeded expectations by making the Brewers 25-man roster on Opening Day after a solid spring training.
In 12.1 innings pitched this spring, he allowed only three runs, good for a 2.19 ERA and enough for the Brewers to keep him around for the beginning of the season.
“It wasn’t very surreal for the first couple days,” said Kintzler. “It felt like we were still at spring training.
“And then all of a sudden when we’re standing on the line on Opening Day in Cincinnati, that’s when it kind of hit me like ‘This is the real deal.’ Everything just went through my mind about all the hard work when I was a kid and just coming up, it was really cool.”
It wasn’t Kintzler’s first time in the majors, although it was his first Opening Day. He was a September call-up in 2010 when he made his major league debut.
In seven appearances last year, he gave up six runs in 7.1 innings pitched, compiling a 7.36 ERA.
The right-handed reliever only appeared in one game this season before being sent down. In 1 1/3 innings, Kintzler gave up four runs – only one earned – in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
Other than one pitch, a home run to the Reds’ Ryan Hanigan on Apr. 3, Kintzler feels like he’s had a productive 2011.
“Everything I wanted to do, I did,” said Kintzler. “I wanted to make a tough decision on them in spring training, and I did that.
“Pitching so far, the other day I made one big mistake, but I was throwing strikes. That’s my motive is just to go out there an throw strikes and not walk anybody. So I think so far this year it’s been pretty good.”
Even though his stay in Milwaukee was short, Kintzler was extremely grateful for the opportunity.
“You’ve got to appreciate every day,” said Kintzler. “I have a thing in my locker that says ‘Everyday is a gift.’ And it is. Every day you’re here in the big leagues is a true gift.”
The good news for Kintzler is that as long as he’s on the organization’s 40-man roster, he’s only a step away from being called back up.