Washington has added even more bullpen depth, signing left-hander Mike Gonzalez to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Gonzalez pitched well for the Nationals in 2012 and then spent last season with the Brewers, throwing 50 innings with a 4.68 ERA and 60/25 K/BB ratio.
He’s a good bet to be more effective than plenty of relievers with major-league contracts, but last season’s bloated ERA and the fact that he’s 36 years old didn’t help his market.
Jim Henderson has pitched really well since taking over the closer role from John Axford in Milwaukee, but he could be headed for an extended absence.
Henderson strained his right hamstring in the ninth inning last night while attempting to finish off the Brewers’ victory against the Pirates. He appeared to suffer the injury as he attempted to field a comebacker off the bat of Russell Martin, but Henderson told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he tweaked his hamstring when he pushed off the mound to make the pitch.
Henderson tried to stay in the game initially, but was pulled after he showed obvious discomfort on a warm-up throw. Francisco Rodriguez took over from there and needed just two pitches for his first save of the season and the 295th of his career.
If Henderson requires a trip to the disabled list, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said that he will likely employ a closer-by-committee in his absence. Rodriguez, Axford and even Mike Gonzalez could all be in the mix for save chances.
Henderson, 30, owns an 0.82 ERA and 23/5 K/BB ratio over 19 2/3 innings this season. He is a perfect 9-for-9 in save opportunities.
Brandon Phillips is no stranger to excellent plays with the glove, but his double play against the Brewers last night was pretty ridiculous.
Phillips also pitched in at the plate, as he went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. His solo shot off Mike Gonzalez in the bottom of the seventh ended up being the difference in Reds’ 4-3 victory.
Hitting cleanup behind on-base machines Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto, Phillips currently leads the National League with 31 RBI. The 31-year-old has never driven in more than 98 runs in a season, but he’s on pace to obliterate that total this year.