Henderson's Trip To Big Leagues Worth The Wait





MILWAUKEE — How did Jim Henderson spend 10 years in the minors before getting his first shot at the big leagues?

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke kept asking himself that question.

"I don't get it. I have no idea," Roenicke said. "You can't have that stuff and not do well enough in the minor leagues to come up. Your numbers would be ridiculous."

Actually, Henderson's numbers were quite impressive at Triple-A Nashville before finally getting his first summons to the majors in late July. In 35 outings, he was 4-3, 1.69 with 15 saves in 16 opportunities. He allowed just 36 hits and 22 walks in 48 innings while logging 56 strikeouts. Opponents batted a mere .214 against him.

Henderson, 29, recorded saves on consecutive nights against the Reds as Roenicke gave him a chance to replace struggling closer John Axford. Through nine appearances, he posted a 3.38 ERA with 13 strikeouts over eight innings.

"Everybody knows my journey now, 10 years," Henderson said. "I feel like I have these two months to prove I can stay here. "

Henderson's saga began in 2003, when the Calgary native was drafted in the 26th round by the Expos out of Tennessee Wesleyan. The Cubs grabbed him three years later in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft.

Henderson suffered a major setback in 2008, missing most of the season, first with a herniated disc in his back and later with an ailing shoulder that would require surgery. He was released by the Cubs the next spring and signed shortly afterward by the Brewers, mainly because they needed an experienced closer at low Class A Wisconsin.

"I just love playing. I kept waiting for a chance," he said. "When my manager (Mike Guerrero) told me I was going up, he reminded me, 'If you have a jersey, you have a chance.' "

MICROBREWS

• Lefthander Jed Bradley was shut down at high Class A Brevard County in early August with arm fatigue after slumping to 5-10, 5.53 with 60 strikeouts and 43 walks in 107 innings.

• Shortstop Jean Segura, one of three prospects acquired from the Angels in the Zack Greinke trade, played just eight games at Double-A Huntsville, and hit .433, before being promoted to Milwaukee and put in the starting lineup.