The Milwaukee Brewers activated relief pitcher Jim Henderson off the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. Even though the right-hander has done a terrific job as the closer for Milwaukee this season, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has decided to keep reliever Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth-inning role.
It is certainly an interesting move considering Henderson has been lights out in the closer role in 2013. He is 2-1 with a 0.87 earned run average, 23 strikeouts and nine saves in nine opportunities. The fact that he has only allowed two earned runs, five walks and a .164 opponent’s batting average in 20 2/3 innings is remarkable.
With that being said, Rodriguez has been just as good closing out games. He is 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA, nine strikeouts and four saves in four opportunities in 10 1/3 innings. He has only given up one earned run, three walks and posted a .125 opponent’s batting average in 11 appearances. Not to mention, Rodriguez is two away from reaching 300 saves in his storied career. However, the milestone that is fast approaching is not the only reason Roenicke is keeping Rodriguez put.
“I talked to Jimmy when he came back,” Roenicke told Brewers.com, “about maybe getting an inning in somewhere else, for two reasons. One, he could be a little rusty. And the other is, I know he threw an inning in Appleton, but sometimes it’s a little different intensity when you’re here and you’ve got a closing situation. I don’t want him to [get hurt] again.”
It would certainly be an unfortunate situation if Roenicke gave Henderson his job back right away just to have the 30-year-old falter. The fact is the Brewers cannot afford to have any more mistakes considering they are already fighting an uphill battle.