The Milwaukee Brewers have placed left-hander Chris Narveson on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained middle finger on his left hand.
No corresponding roster move was announced, but manager Ron Roenicke told reporters after Monday’s 7-4 victory over the Cubs that a position player would be recalled from Triple-A Nashville prior to Tuesday night’s game.
Narveson, who started the season in the bullpen to ease his way back from shoulder surgery, injured the finger warming up for what eventually was a scoreless inning in Saturday’s loss to Arizona.
The 31-year-old has made two appearances and pitched two scoreless innings this season, allowing just a hit and a walk. Narveson was limited to just two starts in 2012, tearing his rotator cuff on April 15 against Atlanta.
Bringing up a position player will end Milwaukee’s run with 13 pitchers on the roster. The Brewers decided to carry an extra pitcher to start the season, but it left them with a four-man bench. Because injuries have depleted an already short bench — pitcher Kyle Lohse had to pinch hit in the 11th inning Sunday with a potentially tie-making run on third base — bringing up a position player is something the Brewers have to do.
It’s likely right-hander Mike Fiers will slide from the rotation to the bullpen for the time being because three April off days allow for the fifth spot in the rotation to be skipped a couple of times. Not only would that give the Brewers an extra bullpen arm, but Fiers would get a chance to work through his struggles in less pressure filled situations.
New closer: While it hasn’t been made official, Jim Henderson appears to be Milwaukee’s new closer, replacing the struggling John Axford.
Roenicke hinted in his pregame meeting with reporters that a change was imminent but wanted to talk to Axford first.
When a 7-2 game in the 9th suddenly became a save situation with the tying run on deck, Roenicke went to Henderson. It took 30 pitches and there were some tense moments, but Henderson eventually got Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro to fly out to the warning track with the bases loaded to end the game.
“Nothing bigger than Opening Day at Wrigley (Field) and the tying run on the bags and the winning run at the plate,” Henderson said. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Henderson threw Cubs outfielder Dave Sappelt and Castro a steady diet of fastballs, eventually striking out Sappelt and getting Castro’s fly out with his heater.
“That’s what was working,” Henderson said. “I wasn’t going to get beat with my slider. I was going to keep pumping the fastballs and go at them very aggressively.”
Axford has allowed eight hits, four home runs and six earned runs in 2-2/3 innings this season, collecting a blown save and a loss in three appearances.
Roenicke nixed any notion he was thinking of changing after Sunday’s extra innings loss to Arizona, but apparently has changed his mind, at least for the time being. Because Henderson threw 30 high-stress pitches Monday, he probably won’t be available Tuesday, making it unknown who would get the ball if the Brewers are faced with a save situation.