A slew of day-to-day injuries has left the Brewers playing shorthanded for much of the past week. When a need for fresh bullpen arms sent Elian Herrera back to Nashville on Thursday, the outfield was looking especially thin — while Logan Schafer is scheduled to come off the disabled list on Saturday, Ryan Braun hasn’t played since last Saturday with his oblique injury and Carlos Gomez still has a suspension looming overhead.
The Brewers are hoping to at least temporarily send some help the outfield’s way, calling up Caleb Gindl from Nashville. Gindl, 25, was hitting .284/.352/.421 in another go-around with the Sounds. He was especially crushing right-handed pitching, posting a .328/.392/.507 line against righties. It’s worth noting that the three pitchers the Brewers are facing this weekend in Cincinnati — Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon — are all right-handed.
To make room for Gindl, Jim Henderson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Usually when a team is in a bit of a roster bind, it’s easy to look at relievers landing on the DL with “soreness” or “inflammation” with skepticism, but in Henderson’s case the move seems to be legitimate — or at least more legitimate than if the Brewers tried to hide Wei-Chung Wang on the DL.
Henderson has struggled with a significant velocity loss for much of the season. It’s the reason why Ron Roenicke decided to make the last-second (and at the moment, incredibly prescient) to name Francisco Rodriguez the closer, and after a brief period where those issues seemed to be behind him, they’ve returned in his past few outings.
Henderson’s fastball averaged 93.63 mph against the Reds on Thursday night, the slowest it’s been since he averaged 93.52 mph against the Red Sox in his second outing of the season. A big part of Henderson going from 10-year minor league veteran to big league closer was the sudden velocity explosion that had him averaging 95-96 mph. At 93 mph, he’s struggling to miss bats, especially as hitters are starting to just sit on the fastball.
It’s easy to concoct a conspiracy theory when Henderson lands on the DL the day after giving up the go-ahead home run in the 8th inning and being charged with 5 runs in 2/3 of an inning, but if the velocity issue is still there, it’s probably best to sit him down for a couple weeks. Ron Roenicke already has one reliever he can’t trust in a close game taking up a roster spot. He can’t have two, especially when he’s being forced to do things like start Mark Reynolds in the outfield.