Marco Estrada's major league career got off to a bit of a slow start. He made his big league debut as a member of the Nationals in 2008, but posted a 7.20 ERA in 15 games over his first two seasons. As such, it didn't make much of a splash when the Brewers claimed him off waivers on this day two years ago.
Estrada's first season as a Brewer, unfortunately, wasn't much different. He posted a 9.53 ERA over seven appearances and was likely best-remembered for an ill-fated start on zero days rest on May 23. He went on the DL shortly thereafter, and appeared likely to fade off into oblivion. The Brewers re-signed him as a minor league free agent that winter, but didn't invite him to major league camp.
It's amazing, though, how quickly things can change. Zack Greinke's rib injury opened up a spot in the 2011 starting rotation, and after Mark Rogers and others weren't able to win the job Estrada's great spring earned him the assignment. He did well enough in his four starts in place of Greinke to earn a spot on the roster for the rest of the season, and now he's a near lock to make the team again in 2012. He posted a 3.06 ERA and struck out 40 batters in 35.1 innings after the All Star break in 2011.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to: