Manager Ron Roenicke is among those who can’t figure out how reliever Jim Henderson spent 10 years in the minor leagues before finally getting his first chance in the majors.
“I don’t get it,” said Roenicke. “I have no idea. You can’t have that stuff and not do well enough in the minor leagues to come up.
“You can’t have this stuff and pitch in the minor leagues. Your numbers would be ridiculous.”
Maybe not ridiculous, but the 29-year-old Henderson’s numbers at Class AAA Nashville before getting promoted were impressive. In 35 relief outings, he was 4-3 with a 1.69 ERA and 15 saves in 16 opportunities. He allowed only 36 hits and 22 walks in 48 innings while logging 56 strikeouts.
Roenicke gave Henderson his first save opportunity in the majors Tuesday night, and he closed out a 3-1 victory over Cincinnati with a perfect ninth. He recorded save No. 2 on Wednesday in a 3-2 squeaker over the Reds.
In eight outings, Henderson has a 1.29 ERA with one walk and 10 strikeouts in seven innings.
Asked if he’d make Henderson his primary closer, Roenicke said, “I don’t know. We’ll see, but he’s been pretty good. He doesn’t seem to get flustered. He comes in and throws strikes. He has plus stuff.”
Roenicke has moved struggling John Axford in and out of the closer’s role but indicated Henderson and Axford could co-exist in that duty.
“I think so. I think ‘Ax’ understands things,” said Roenicke. “We can work them both in. I don’t think that will be an issue.”