Promotion surprised Dillard

Tim Dillard was back in the big leagues Saturday after nearly two years away. He didn’t see his promotion coming.

“Not a chance,” said the side-arming right-hander, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Nashville. “We had a 7 o’clock game, then a rain delay at 8 for three hours. We were strapping it back on and I was walking out to the field and [Nashville pitching coach] Rich Gale comes up holding a baseball.”

Gale asked whether Dillard could quickly prepare to pitch. Dillard set down his cup of coffee and, of course, said yes.

“He was like, ‘No, I can’t let you do that,’” Dillard said. “I said, why not? He goes, ‘Because you’re going to be in Milwaukee tomorrow.’”

Dillard thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. The Brewers promoted him to replace right-hander Brandon Kintzler, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with triceps tendonitis.

A lot has changed since Dillard last threw a pitch for the Brewers on July 31, 2009. For starters, the Miller Park clubhouses have been redone, so Dillard arrived Saturday to not-so-familiar surroundings.

The more dramatic change is his own delivery, from a standard overhand to a new, sidearm sling that Dillard adopted at the Brewers’ urging in 2010 Spring Training. He posted a 4.12 ERA in 2010 but sometimes found himself relapsing.

“After a day off I’d come back and throw over the top and you’re like, ‘Wait a second, that’s not me anymore,’” Dillard said.

Now, the sidearm delivery feels natural.

“I was very excited [to get called up],” Dillard said. “The sidearm thing has come pretty natural, and they’ve given me a lot of time to bring it together. For them to bring me up was just amazing. I want them to see that, ‘Hey, you made the right move with the sidearm thing.’ I’ve enjoyed it.”

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