Success has not come as quickly as 2011 Brewers first-rounder Jed Bradley would have liked. But instead of dwelling on it, the left-hander is relishing his chance to learn and grow without being hurried.
Bradley allowed two hits over 6 2/3 innings Thursday in the Class A Advanced Brevard County Manatees' 7-0 win over the visiting Daytona Cubs. Bradley (4-1) struck out seven batters and walked two, lowering his ERA to 2.77.
"I just wanted to be aggressive and attack guys," said Bradley, who throws a fastball, a curveball and a slider. "I have a great relationship with catcher Cameron Garfield and we had a good game plan. We wanted to put the ball in the zone a lot and keep it down. Any time you can do that on a consistent basis, you will be successful."
Bradley surrendered a two-out infield single to Gioskar Amaya in the third inning when he jammed the second baseman with a fastball in on the hands that turned into a chopper up the middle. The only other hit was Dan Vogelbach's leadoff single to center field in the fifth, a mistake pitch Bradley said he left over the plate.
The Georgia Tech product allowed seven runs against Daytona in his season debut April 5, but he has yielded just five combined runs over his past six starts, a spell of 34 2/3 innings. Excluding the loss in his first start, Bradley has a 1.30 ERA, which would rank fifth in the Florida State League.
Selected by the Brewers 15th overall in the 2011 Draft, Bradley has never known life in pro ball outside of the Sunshine State.
He made his Minor League debut in Daytona 25 months ago and hasn't pitched a competitive game outside of Florida since. Bradley was 5-10 with a 5.53 ERA in 20 starts in his rookie year and he went 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 16 starts in the Florida State League last season.
"Things happen for a reason," the Alabama native said. "I've battled injuries throughout my career and I've learned the hard way. I'm thankful for where I am right now. I'm 23 years old and I'm in a good position.
"I would love to get to Double-A and have a strong season and see what the Brewers want to do with me from there, but I don't like to look that far ahead. They just told me they want me to prove I can take the ball every fifth day and stay healthy. That's the big thing, to stay healthy and get guys out. That's what I've done so far and what I plan to do."
Manatees reliever Greg Holle retired all four batters he faced and Stephen Peterson worked around a walk in the ninth to seal the shutout.
Center fielder Tyrone Taylor doubled twice, plated one run and scored once and left fielder Victor Roache hit his sixth homer of the year.
Daytona starter Ya-Lin Wang (0-5) allowed four runs on four hits and a walk over five innings. He struck out two batters in the losing effort.