"I was incredibly excited," said Bradley when he learned of his promotion. "Going to school right down the street, I came to a lot of games at Turner [Field] when I was in college and came to a lot of games at Turner growing up. It's just an honor, an absolute honor."
The journey in between Bradley's stellar college career and Major League arrival hasn't been quite as smooth.
As one of the best pitchers in the ACC during his junior season with the Yellow Jackets, the Brewers selected Bradley with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. But after posting a 4.49 ERA through his first three seasons in the Minors, the left-handed starter transitioned to primarily a relief role.
Then, after he registered a a 6.20 ERA in 24 2/3 innings with Double-A Biloxi this year, Milwaukee traded Bradley to the Braves on June 3 for a player to be named or cash.
The 26-year-old moved back into the rotation upon his arrival in the Atlanta organization, a move that has paid dividends. Bradley went 4-3 with a 2.35 ERA with Double-A Mississippi before going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts with Triple-A Gwinnett.
"I missed starting, and it just kind of fit," Bradley said. "I really like working with [pitching coach] Dennis Lewallyn down in Double-A, and [pitching coach Mike Alvarez] in Triple-A is a great guy. I've just tried to keep things simple, attack the strike zone, be the best I can be on any given day and not give hitters too much credit."
Bradley's most recent outing came on Tuesday, so he'll likely come out of the bullpen if he's used in this weekend's series vs. the Phillies. He could receive a start within the rotation's next turn, which would make him the first left-hander to start a game for the Braves this season.
In addition to selecting Bradley's contract from Triple-A, Atlanta activated A.J. Pierzynski and Chris Withrow from the disabled list on Thursday.
Pierzynski has been on the DL since Aug. 17 with a strained left hamstring. With his return to the big league club, he joins Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker as one of three catchers on the roster.
Withrow, meanwhile, has been sidelined since Aug. 8 with right elbow inflammation. The reliever is 2-0 with a 3.31 ERA with the Braves this year.