Brewers release Bruso |

Brewers release Bruso

Steve Yingling

Right-handed pitcher Greg Bruso, the only South Shore baseball product in the minor leagues last year, has been released by the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers waived Bruso on March 26, telling him that he wasn’t in their future big-league plans.

“That doesn’t mean we’re right or wrong. It’s just with the players we have in our system we didn’t think he could help us at the major league level,” said Scott Martens, the Brewers’ assistant director of player development.

Bruso wasn’t given a specific pitching reason as to why he was released.

“It’s tough, especially after being successful my first year with the Giants and not having the same success with the Brewers,” Bruso said. “At the same time I have to accept it and get on with it. There is a lot of good talent in Brewers’ system and maybe they were just going with younger talent.”

A starting pitcher throughout his high school, college and minor league career, Bruso knew something was amiss after the way the Brewers worked him during spring training games. Four separate times he was given one-inning relief assignments.

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“I thought it was a little strange,” he said. “I thought they were going to put me in the bullpen this year and maybe they were seeing if I could fit anywhere.”

Bruso said he surrendered just one run in four innings.

As a free agent, Bruso has several options to work his way back to an affiliated contract. He has talked to the Giants, his former team, and is pondering pitching for an independent league team until a new major league deal can be worked out.

“I called the Giants when I got released and they are in the same situation as everybody else. They are getting rid of players and not taking on players,” Bruso said. “They told me to play in an independent league if they need somebody and I’m throwing well, they’ll take a look at me.”

The Sioux City (Iowa) Explorers and the Gary (Ind.) Railcats have expressed interest in the 24-year-old Bruso since his release 10 days into spring training. Former South Tahoe High player Jordan Romero pitched several seasons with the Explorers.

Although the Brewers released Bruso, Martens believes Bruso has the ability to continue pitching professionally.

“I would be surprised if Greg wasn’t pitching somewhere this year,” Martens said. “Somebody like that should have success at the minor league level and I could see him having success down the road, whether it’s another minor league club or independent league team.”

Martens said the Brewers signed seven or eight players from independent leagues last year.

“When somebody gets hurt we’re not going to hold a tryout,” Martens said. “More and more teams are scouting independent league teams and that’s where we get players when somebody goes down.”

Bruso, however, isn’t planning to draw out his minor league career.

“If it doesn’t work out this summer and I finish out the season with an independent league team, I’ll probably hang it up after that,” he said. “I’m not gonna be one of those guys who hangs on until he’s 31 or 32 years old. I definitely want to give it another shot. My arm is in baseball shape and I’d like to go out and pitch right now.”

Bruso, a 1999 South Tahoe High graduate, was entering his fourth season in the minor leagues after being selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 16th round of the 2002 draft.

Following two stellar seasons in the minors, Bruso struggled last year with the High Desert Mavericks of the California League.

The 24-year-old Bruso was 1-7 with a 5.48 earned run average for the last-place Mavericks and 1-0 with a 1.12 ERA for the Arizona Brewers.

A tender throwing shoulder caused Bruso to miss the first two months of last season. Bruso noticed discomfort in his right throwing shoulder three weeks before reporting to 2004 spring training and reported it to trainers whe he arrived in Tempe, Ariz. Bruso went through an extended spring training in Tempe to strengthen the shoulder and joined the Mavericks after two appearances with Arizona, the Brewers’ Single-A rookie club.

“It’s tough coming into any season or team in midseason without being in midseason form,” Bruso said. “High Desert isn’t a pitcher friendly park. I could use them as excuses, but I didn’t pitch real well.”

The High Desert park is located at 4,300 feet and the prevailing wind blows out.

“Some of our starters gave up 22 to 25 home runs and every game there were three to six homers hit,” said Bruso, who served up six. “But I didn’t pitch that well on the road where it wasn’t a tough place to pitch.”

Although he only tossed 73.2 innings last year, Bruso worked 170 and 174 innings the previous two seasons, which may have contributed to his shoulder problems. That discomfort is behind him, according to Bruso.

“My arm hasn’t felt this good since college,” he said. “I was really excited to get season started and I feel I can continue to pitch and I definitely want to see if I can have another good year.”

Following his All-American senior season at UC-Davis in 2002, Bruso compiled a 4-3 record and Northwest League best 1.99 ERA for Salem-Keizer.

In 2003, Bruso earned a California League All-Star Game selection and Double-A promotion with his 7-5 record and 3.11 ERA at San Jose. He made an immediate adjustment to Double-A hitters, going 5-4 with a 3.42 ERA at Norwich.

But Bruso was traded to Milwaukee in a deal that sent veteran second baseman Eric Young to the Giants late in the season. Milwaukee started Bruso at Double-A Huntsville where he had a 1-1 record and 3.60 ERA in two starts.

Martens was asked why the Brewers were willing to part with Bruso so soon after giving up a major league player to get him.

“At the time the trade happened there was a different (front-office) group here in Milwaukee and things change,” Martens said. “Two years gave us enough time to evaluate him.”

Bruso’s minor league career

Year Team W-L ERA IP BB SO HR Hits

2002 Salem-Keizer 4-3 1.99 81.1 17 78 5 58

2003 San Jose 7-5 3.11 84 11 77 5 69

2003 Norwich 5-4 3.42 76.1 11 45 6 72

2003 Huntsville 1-1 3.60 10 6 5 1 13

2004 Arizona 1-0 1.12 8 1 6 1 3

2004 High Desert 1-7 5.48 65.2 12 50 6 82

Totals 19-20 3.35 325.3 58 265 25 297