Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Long Wait Pays off for Browning; after 6 Years in Minors, Cardinals Lefty Pitched Two Hitless Innings on Saturday

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Long Wait Pays off for Browning; after 6 Years in Minors, Cardinals Lefty Pitched Two Hitless Innings on Saturday

Article excerpt

Barret Browning had waited a long time before deciding to add two pitches last November.

The Cardinals lefthanded reliever, called up to the majors for the first time late Friday night, had spent the previous 6 1/2 years in the minors. He'd never posted an ERA better than 2.80 (in Class A in 2007) and had ERAs of 6.54 and 4.61 in his most recent seasons with the Salt Lake Bees, the Angels' Triple-A affiliate. He admits his numbers were never eye-popping.

The Cardinals picked up Browning in the minor league Rule 5 Draft and he had excelled with Memphis before being promoted. In 30 appearances with the Redbirds this season, he was 2-3 with a 1.89 ERA. He'd struck out 36 in 38 innings and had allowed only one homer.

Complementing his slider, two added pitches - a two-seam fastball and a changeup - have made all the difference for the 27-year-old.

Browning made his major-league debut in a 7-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday and did not allow a hit or a walk in two in two innings. He threw 20 pitches, striking out one to go along with four groundouts and a flyout.

Sure, he's wondered how it would be if he had added the pitches years before. But he doesn't regret the longer route he's taken.

"If I had those two pitches earlier in career, maybe I'd been here earlier," he said. "But I definitely wouldn't change anything about the journey taken to get here."

Browning is a lesson in patience. He was drafted four times from 2002-2006.

The first time, he was a 17-year-old at Wayne County High in Jesup, Ga. Boston took him in the sixth round. He deferred, instead electing to attend Middle Georgia Junior College.

The Chicago Cubs drafted him the following year, in the 26th round, but this time Browning opted for a transfer to Florida State University.

"It wasn't a hard decision to make," Browning said. "The consensus among my family was that the college experience would be good for me. I was more comfortable with that, too."

In Tallahassee, he was a teammate of Cardinals outfielder Shane Robinson. …

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