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Monday June 04, 2012
By: Avery Buye
For Dawgs’ alumnus Jim Henderson, every outing counts.
“My number one goal is to get to the top,” simply stated the 6’5 right-handed pitcher.
“I always have the mentality that I'm going to get to the big leagues,” added Henderson. “I did put a bit more stress on getting off to a good start this year - last year I got off to a rough start and couldn't recover. I'm not getting any younger so I’ve got to make a push.”
The 29-year-old reliever had an impressive start for the AAA Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers), posting a 0.00 ERA over his first 14 appearances during the 2012 Pacific Coast League season.
“I don't worry about the scoreless streak. I'm just trying to do my job. Many pitchers go through streaks like this - It's nice that it's been happening since day one - the era at 0.00 does look nice.”
Such a feat is certainly well deserved for this hurler who has paid his dues battling it out in the minor league system. Over the past five years, Henderson has faced uncertainty playing on a variety of teams and leagues ranging from Class-A to Triple-A ball.
Henderson acknowledges that it is rewarding to find the momentum necessary to remain at the top of the minor league chain.
“My role has been a bit of everything. I first started off pitching in middle relief, but lately I've had a chance to close a few games,” explained Henderson regarding his variable role out of the bullpen. “We haven't been winning a whole lot of games - so I've kind of been thrown into every kind of situation so I can get some work in.”
He acknowledges a major motivating factor has been to establish his worth to the club after beginning the season in Double-A baseball.
“I was only there for one day and never pitched there - but I felt like I had to prove to the Brewers organization that I belonged in AAA,” explained Henderson.
His shutdown performances on the bump have not gone unnoticed in the upper circles of the Brewers organization.
"He has moved himself into a position of consideration," said Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (read more). "He clearly has the ability; he just has been inconsistent in the past.”
Henderson has dealt 30 strikeouts over 27 innings pitched for Nashville, while allowing only 19 hits. The bullpen pitcher has also collected 3 wins and a pair of saves alongside his current 1.33 ERA.
As for the secret to the successful season, Henderson attributes his consistency to a few different factors.
“I changed some things in my delivery to find more consistency. I have been throwing out of only the stretch - so I can focus on just the one movement,“ detailed Henderson. “Also moving my arm angle up a little bit to help me stay on top of the ball has not only helped my command, but helped my off-speed pitches also. “
Henderson was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 26th round of the 2003 amateur MLB entry draft. He was then selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft and was signed by the Brewers to a minor league contract in the spring of 2009.