Many were surprised to see Francisco Rodriguez — and not Jim Henderson — get the call for the Brewers in the ninth inning this afternoon against the Braves. However, after Rodriguez closed out the Opening Day victory, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said that he plans to stick with Rodriguez in the ninth inning for the time being.
According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, the change was made after Brewers officials were “concerned” that Henderson showed diminished velocity and life on his pitches this spring. Roenicke said that the hope is that he’ll be able to find his “stuff” and confidence in lower-leverage situations, after which they would consider putting him back into the closer role. Rodriguez is coming off a rough spring of his own, partially because of stepping on a cactus, but he’s now to the point where he can pitch without pain.
Henderson, 31, posted a 2.70 ERA and a 75/24 K/BB ratio over 60 innings last season. He went 28-for-32 in save opportunities.
Via WEEI.com comes a report that Red Sox minor league pitcher Kevin Steen was critically injured in a car crash on Wednesday night near Fort Myers.
The driver of the other car involved in the accident was killed. Steen is in the hospital in critical condition. It appears as though the other driver veered off the road, overcorrected and then crossed the center line, crashing into Steen’s SUV.
Steen, 20, is a starting pitcher. He was a ninth round pick of the Red Sox in 2014 out of Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He’s played three seasons in the Sox season and was about to begin his fourth.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.