When it’s time for rehab, big-time Brewers head north to Appleton.

Photos by Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Brewers.

Photos by Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Brewers.

Sometimes in minor league baseball, you see the present and future collide. Over the past several years, plenty of Brewers have had injury rehab assignments with the humble Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, just up the road in Appleton. This season, second baseman Scooter Gennett, outfielder Khris Davis and pitcher Wily Peralta played there to prep for their returns to the majors.

Rattlers manager Matt Erickson, whose club is in the Single-A Midwest League, says having “a player that’s gone through every level of minor league baseball” and on to the big leagues is “usually a positive situation for our younger players.”

A less-than-positive episode came in 2012, when Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez irked a Rattlers foe, the Burlington Bees, by dawdling too long after hitting a homer. The Bees purposely hit Wisconsin’s next batter, sparking a benches-clearing brouhaha.

Gennett prefers the plucky Rattlers to Milwaukee’s less-popular affiliates, such as the Florida State League’s Brevard County Manatees. “The fans and the atmosphere,” he says, “it’s like a normal game. You go to Brevard County, and there’s 10 people in the stands.”

‘The Big Chill’ appears in the September 2015 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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