Kintzler on Crew: Hoping to 'break their hearts'

Ex-Brewer, who holds grudge against team that released him, wants to pitch this weekend

Kintzler on Crew: Hoping to 'break their hearts'

MILWAUKEE -- Nationals right-hander Brandon Kintzler has had these dates circled on his calendar for some time now. It's the first time he has pitched against the Brewers, for whom he spent parts of six seasons.

Since being released by the Brewers following the 2015 season, Kintzler has transformed himself into an All-Star in Minnesota and now a crucial piece in Washington's bullpen. And he admitted that he carried a little extra motivation when he entered in the eighth inning of Saturday's 1-0 loss.

He entered the game with two outs in the eighth, and after surrendering a single to Hernan Perez, Kintzler secured the final out by getting Travis Shaw to fly out to center field.

"A little too amped up," Kintzler said.

Kintzler traveled through the Independent League and endured years in the Minors before making it to the Majors with Milwaukee. He appeared in 172 games in parts of six seasons from 2010-15, entrenching himself as a piece of the Crew's bullpen in 2013 as he posted a respectable 3.38 ERA.

However, Kintzler was pitching through a torn tendon in his left knee, which he said impacted his ability to land. He finally had surgery after the 2014 season, but his rehab went poorly. He would go on to make just seven appearances in 2015 before being released that October.

"I didn't throw one pitch healthy for that team in five years," he said. "I was never healthy, so I feel totally different. I feel way stronger. I feel like I can compete a lot better with more weapons. I feel like I'm just in control of what I'm doing, where there I was still kind of young, but I wasn't healthy so I was trying to force the action on everything."

As he revitalized his career in Minnesota and made the American League All-Star team this season, Kintzler was looking forward to facing the Brewers earlier this season, circling the four-game series between the two teams from Aug. 7-10. But he was traded to Washington just before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. (He still took solace from afar in seeing the Twins sweep the four-game set).

So Kintzler was happy to see the Nationals still had this four-game series left against the Brewers, and he is excited to show what he can do the rest of the weekend.

"Hopefully the next two, I can help break their hearts," Kintzler said with a smile.

Injury notes

• Right-hander Ryan Madson told reporters Saturday that he is healthy and ready to pitch. He was activated from the disabled list when rosters expanded Friday, but manager Dusty Baker was not entirely sure of the reliever's status after he missed 17 games with a right finger sprain.

After getting treatment all week in Arizona, however, Madson threw a bullpen session Thursday before rejoining the team and experienced no pain in his finger. He tried to convince Baker he was available to pitch Friday night, but Baker decided to wait, considering he had just thrown the previous day.

"I'd rather have him have a soft landing," Baker said. "But he said he was ready to go in any landing."

• Catcher Matt Wieters was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game after he took a foul ball off his right knee Thursday night. Baker said Wieters was feeling better, but he wanted to give him an extra day to make sure. The catcher could be available to pinch-hit Saturday and should be back in the lineup Sunday.

"We got to preserve him," Baker said. "He's been banged up the last couple years of his career, so we really have to take care of him. "

• Baker said he was not sure whether right-hander Koda Glover will be ready to pitch again this season. Glover, who has been on the DL since June 11, is on a throwing program at the team's complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Baker hoped Glover could join the team for examination next week in Miami.

"Can we use Koda? Yeah," Baker said. "But are we counting on that, for him to be sharp and ready? I'm not sure."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.