This story was taken directly from Adam McCalvy’s Brewers Beat newsletter. You can read the entire newsletter here. Click here. Subscribe to receive it every other week in your email.
Woodruff threw 74% of his final tune-up pitch before returning from the injury list. He was wearing a white Wisconsin Timber Rattlers jersey, and mismatched, cream colored Milwaukee Brewers pants. Why the mismatch? Woodruff claimed that the uniform that was prepared for him was too large on top, and that every pair of pants he tried was either too tight or too baggy.
Some improvisation was needed.
Woodruff asked Timber Rattlers manager Joe Ayrault — Woodruff’s skipper in his first full season of pro ball — if he could simply wear his Brewers pants. Of course, Ayrault said. Woodruff also received a No. 11 had been owned by Sal Frelick (a top Brewers prospect). It was ready for wear once the name was removed.
“I go out to the bullpen and someone is like, ‘Let’s go, Rowdy!’” Woodruff said with a laugh, referring, of course, to the Brewers’ No. 11, Rowdy Tellez. “So, I was no-name out there, trying to do my best and get back [to the Majors].”
Woodruff was still beaming about the experience when he chatted with me and Tim Dillard for this week’s Brewers Unfiltered podcast. Watch out for the full conversation Tuesday, as Woodruff is scheduled for Tuesday’s injury list to be activated to play for the Brewers at The Rays.
“These kids were out there chanting my name when I was warming up, and I’m like, ‘Man, this is cool,’”Woodruff said. “I’ve never given kids high-fives before the game. When I’m going out there to pitch, my job is to get people out and I’m trying to be focused. Although it was a bit out of my comfort zone, I think it was a good decision to give high-fives to the kids on the other side of that fence. ‘You know what? That was a cool experience. I probably made some kids’ day.’
“The other thing that threw me off a little bit was that they do the anthem, like, three minutes before the game. You run out to your position to do the anthem — I haven’t done that since high school. I’m running out there in a pair of cream pants and a white jersey. During the anthem, two children ran out to me and I said, ‘How are y’all?’ I asked them their names and I said, ‘I’m Brandon.’ The kids were like, ‘Yeah, we know.’ They had a Minor League ball out there on the mound and one kid had a ball and the other one didn’t, so I was like, ‘Hey, take this ball with you.’His face lit up. I saw a picture in which I was looking down and smiling at him during that time. His eyes were so big.
“I say all that just to say that these kids look up to us more than we realize. I don’t think we realize enough around the community how influential we can be, and I think that was a cool thing to go back and do.”