10 years to reach the majors, 10 days to become a closer


That I decided to note 29-year-old Jim Henderson’s major league arrival with a blog entry two weeks ago was largely due to the fact that he was an Expos draft pick; if he had instead been selected by the Reds or Giants 10 years ago, I probably would have let it pass without comment.

Henderson, though, is turning out to be something quite a bit more than a novelty act for the Brewers. On Wednesday, he picked up his second save in 24 hours, throwing a hitless ninth inning to protect a 3-2 lead against the Reds.

In all, Henderson has pitched seven innings in his two weeks with the Brewers and he’s currently sporting a 1.29 ERA and a 10/1 K/BB ratio.

Henderson isn’t some wily veteran getting by on guile or a wacky delivery, either; he sports a legitimate mid-90s fastball, which is why he kept getting looks in the minors despite underwhelming numbers. If he had better command or a better slider, he would have reached the majors years ago.

So far, Henderson is showing improved command. I’m still not very impressed with his slider, but it looks a whole lot better when he gets ahead with his fastball. The Brewers probably aren’t really looking at him as any sort of fixture in the closer’s role, but with the way he’s throwing, there’s reason to think he could be a useful piece in the pen beyond this season.

Bob Uecker is basically indestructible

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Tom Haurdicourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a story about beloved Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker’s frighteningly eventful offseason that’s definitely worth a read.

The frightening part: Uecker got bit by a brown recluse spider last October. He didn’t realize it at first and happened to show the bite to a doctor a couple of days later. The doctor realized how serious it was — brown recluses can kill people — and Uecker was rushed off to surgery. He’s fine now, back in the Brewers booth and actually joking about the spider bite.

The incident, though, leads Haudricourt to chronicle all of Uecker’s health issues over the years and the list is fairly amazing. I mean, we’ve written about some of his more recent health issues on this site, but I was unaware of just how many potentially fatal ailments Uecker has dealt with and beat in the past 25-30 years or so. Not that he’s too fazed by it all:

“I know I’m lucky. I’ve had 11 major surgeries overall. But, through all of that stuff, I made some unbelievable friends. All those doctors at Froedtert [Hospital]. We’re all friends now. So, a lot of good came out of it.”

That’s quite the perspective.

Uecker is 84. Counting his playing career he’s entering his 63rd year in baseball. He’s still one of the best, if not the best, broadcasters going. Thank goodness he wasn’t stopped by a spider of all things. Here’s hoping he keeps going for many more years to come.