Brewers to go closer by committee sans Henderson

Brewers to go closer by committee sans Henderson

MILWAUKEE -- With Jim Henderson's trip to the disabled list with a right hamstring injury, the closer's role was once again up for grabs in the Brewers' bullpen.

In April, Henderson replaced a struggling John Axford. Now, the Brewers need a replacement for Henderson, and will draw from a 'pen that includes three pitchers with extensive closer experience: Axford, Michael Gonzalez and Francisco Rodriguez.

Rodriguez came in for the final out of Friday's game to record his 295th career save. He registered 40-plus saves in four consecutive seasons with the Angels from 2005-08, including a Major League single-season record 62 in '08.

"I have no idea what's going to happen, so I have to be ready and continue to pitch the way we've been pitching the last eight games, nine games," Rodriguez said after his save Friday. "I feel strong. I just got to continue working, because I still have plenty of work to do."

If the opponent features left-handers in the ninth inning, manager Ron Roenicke's pick could be Gonzalez. Roenicke has praised Gonzalez's pitching of late, noting his slider looks especially sharp.

Gonzalez saved 24 games for the Pirates in '06 and posted double-digit saves for the Braves in '08 and '09.

Axford had a streak of 49 consecutive saves for the Brewers lasting from the 2011 season until May of 2012 and started the season as the Brewers' closer, but lost his job to Henderson in early April. Since then, Axford has had some success in a setup role with seven holds, and he has six straight scoreless appearances including Saturday's inning against the Pirates.

But Roenicke indicated he was more likely to leave Axford in the earlier innings.

"I think we like what we're doing with Ax now and we'll probably continue to do it that way," Roenicke said.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.