MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers closer Jim Henderson left Friday’s 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh with a right hamstring strain after recording the first two outs of the inning.
Francisco Rodriguez came on and got Pirates second baseman Neil Walker to ground out to end the game. It was Rodriguez’s first save of the season and the 295th save of his career.
Henderson, who is a perfect 9 for 9 in saves with a 0.92 ERA, felt the hamstring grab on the pitch that Pirates catcher Russell Martin hit right back at him. Henderson deflected the ball to shortstop Jean Segura who flipped to second baseman Jeff Bianchi for a force out at second base.
It appeared as if Henderson was hurt trying to field the ball, but he felt it on the delivery.
“Just on my descent down toward the plate,” Henderson said. “On my release point I just felt a grab.
“Everything felt fine today. Just trying to be quick to the plate, pushed off real hard and that’s what happened.”
Henderson attempted to stay in the game but immediately turned toward the dugout after throwing just one warm-up pitch.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke believes Henderson’s injury will keep him out more than one day, at minimum. Because he’s never had a hamstring injury before, Henderson isn’t sure what to expect. He described his hamstring as feeling “tight” after the game.
“When I started walking around the mound it felt OK. Then once I made the warmup pitch it saild up and I couldn’t drive down.
“Hopefully it can be something as simple as a cramp. Let’s hope it’s just that and I come in tomorrow feeling good.”
Having thrown some in the bullpen during the eighth inning, Rodriguez didn’t take long to get ready on the mound. He needed just two pitches to shut the door.
“That’s the last thing you want to see, especially when Jim has been doing such a good job,” Rodriguez said. “To see him go down like that is not good at all. Hopefully we can have him as soon as possible.”
Appearing in his fourth game since rejoining the Brewers last week, Rodriguez hasn’t allowed a run in 3-1/3 innings.
“I feel great,” Rodriguez said. “My command is pretty good. I can command all of my pitches where I want to. So far, I feel strong and I just have to continue working. I still have plenty of work to do.”
While it’s too early to know how long Henderson will be out, Roenicke said he will choose who works the ninth inning based off match-ups if his closer is out an extended period of time.
Rodriguez now is five saves away from 300, and said he’d be ready if the Brewers need him to return to the closers’ role.
“Yeah, but I’ve been chasing that since 2011,” Rodriguez said of what 300 saves would mean to him. “It’s been awhile. Right now I’m just going to take it day-by-day and we’ll see what’s going to happen tomorrow.”