MILWAUKEE -- After spending parts of 10 seasons in the Minor Leagues, pitcher Jim Henderson received his first taste of the Major Leagues on Thursday, when he was called up to Milwaukee from Triple-A Nashville.
Brought in to help a bullpen that has struggled mightily, Henderson has registered 15 saves and a 1.69 ERA in 35 appearances this season with the Sounds. Henderson said there had been hints the Brewers might bring him to Milwaukee, but after going 10 years without getting called up, he wasn't anticipating the move.
"I'm just thrilled that it did happen," Henderson said. "Last night, I really just didn't know what to do -- pack, call people. Just a bit of shock and just awe at the situation."
Henderson struck out the first batter he faced while hurling a perfect sixth inning in his big league debut on Thursday. It was a rare Brewers highlight in their 8-2 loss to the Nationals.
"My heart was in my throat. I've never had that before," he joked. "The warmups were all over the place, and then once the batter stepped in, it became a ballgame again and I settled in nicely."
The batter was Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina, a teammate of Henderson in 2005 and '06, when they were both Washington Minor Leaguers.
"It was nice to face a familiar face right away," Henderson said.
Armed with a fastball that comes in between 93-97 mph, Henderson also throws a slurve and a sinker. He said he hasn't used his changeup much pitching in a closing role for Nasvhille, and he also abandoned his windup this season, pitching strictly out of the stretch to improve his consistency.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he hadn't carved out a specific role for Henderson yet, but if he does well, he could end up pitching in later innings. Henderson, who joins John Axford to make it two Canadian natives in the Milwaukee bullpen, said he doesn't have any expectations for what kind of reliever he'll be for the Brewers.
"I'm just going to come in and do my job, whatever they want me to do," Henderson said. "I've done long relief, I've done short relief. I'll just do whatever they want right now."