Young Brenly comfortable in clubhouse
Cubs catching prospect called up for split-squad duty
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brenly sat in the clubhouse at HoHoKam Park for the first time Wednesday and felt right at home.
Brenly, 22, the son of Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly, has been wandering around Major League clubhouses all his life. He was a fixture in the clubhouse when his father was manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, leading the team into the 2001 World Series.
"That experience was unbelievable," Michael said.
On Wednesday, he was one of a dozen Minor League players called up for the Cubs' split-squad game against the Cleveland Indians. A 36th-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Brenly is a catcher, just like his dad. Last year, Brenly batted .325 in 39 games with Class A Boise, hitting one home run with 18 RBIs.
For the last week or so, he's been at Fitch Park down the street from HoHoKam with some other Minor League players.
"We're just trying to get a little leg up and getting back in baseball shape," Brenly said. "For me, living here [in Arizona], it's nice because I can work out all year, but some of these guys come from the snow, and they don't get out on the field as much. To be out there with some of these guys who have been in the snow and think this is paradise, it's pretty funny to hear. It's nice to start doing baseball games. You miss it after a while."
His father was in Las Vegas with the other half of the Cubs roster, which is playing the White Sox in exhibition games Wednesday night and Thursday. Bob Brenly recently had arthroscopic surgery on his knee, and his son joked that it wasn't a serious procedure.
"I think he just did it for the sympathy," Michael said. "I don't think he was even hurt."
He's kidding, dad.
Even if the younger Brenly doesn't get in the game, Wednesday was a special day, not just for him but the others added to the roster.
"I think we're all kind of sitting over here a little wide-eyed just watching these guys do what they do on a day-to-day basis," Brenly said. "In all of our minds, we see our names up there on the locker or on the back of the jerseys. That's why we're here and put in all the time down the street to eventually get to this point and hopefully Wrigley. Hopefully it all pays off for us."
He knows how much work is involved to get to the big leagues. So does his dad.
"Friends and family don't understand that even though our season is six months, it's a year-round job," Michael said. "You train in the offseason for a couple months and then come right back to baseball. It's not a summer job, it's your career now."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.