Braddock part of Brewers’ bullpen plan

The biggest Brewers news on an otherwise quiet Winter Meetings Day 1 may have been this: The team is banking on left-hander Zack Braddock being a part of the 2012 bullpen.

General manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash met Monday with Braddock’s agent, Jeff Berry, and received assurances that Braddock was doing well and would report to Maryvale Baseball Park in January to get a jump on Spring Training. Braddock, a hard-throwing lefty who is only 24, missed much of 2011 while receiving treatment for a variety of issues the Brewers have kept private. He spent time on the disabled list earlier in the year with what the club called a sleeping disorder.

This does not mean that Braddock has put his issues behind him, but he has made progress, according to Ash.

“He is being successfully treated for them,” Ash said.

Braddock showed his ability as a 22-year-old in 2010, posting a 2.94 ERA in 46 games. He had a 7.27 ERA in 25 games in a 2011 that included time on the DL with the sleep disorder and a July demotion to the Minor Leagues after Braddock reported late on several occasions. After he was sent down again on July 14, Braddock was placed on Triple-A Nashville’s inactive list.

Restocking the bullpen ranks high on Melvin’s offseason to-do list considering that LaTroy Hawkins, Francisco Rodriguez and Takashi Saito are all free agents.

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