5/25/2013 8:35 P.M. ET
Brewers to go closer by committee sans Henderson
By Adam McCalvy and Kevin Massoth / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- With Jim Henderson's trip to the disabled list with a right hamstring injury, the closer's role was once again up for grabs in the Brewers' bullpen.
In April, Henderson replaced a struggling John Axford. Now, the Brewers need a replacement for Henderson, and will draw from a 'pen that includes three pitchers with extensive closer experience: Axford, Michael Gonzalez and Francisco Rodriguez.
Rodriguez came in for the final out of Friday's game to record his 295th career save. He registered 40-plus saves in four consecutive seasons with the Angels from 2005-08, including a Major League single-season record 62 in '08.
"I have no idea what's going to happen, so I have to be ready and continue to pitch the way we've been pitching the last eight games, nine games," Rodriguez said after his save Friday. "I feel strong. I just got to continue working, because I still have plenty of work to do."
If the opponent features left-handers in the ninth inning, manager Ron Roenicke's pick could be Gonzalez. Roenicke has praised Gonzalez's pitching of late, noting his slider looks especially sharp.
Gonzalez saved 24 games for the Pirates in '06 and posted double-digit saves for the Braves in '08 and '09.
Axford had a streak of 49 consecutive saves for the Brewers lasting from the 2011 season until May of 2012 and started the season as the Brewers' closer, but lost his job to Henderson in early April. Since then, Axford has had some success in a setup role with seven holds, and he has six straight scoreless appearances including Saturday's inning against the Pirates.
But Roenicke indicated he was more likely to leave Axford in the earlier innings.
"I think we like what we're doing with Ax now and we'll probably continue to do it that way," Roenicke said.
Strained hamstring forces Henderson to DL
MILWAUKEE -- An injury has temporarily darkened one of the Brewers' rare bright spots. The team placed closer Jim Henderson on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with the strained right hamstring he suffered the night before.
A corresponding roster move will be made on Sunday and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said club officials were still discussing a variety of options. The Brewers have been playing one position player short, but they also need a starting pitcher for Tuesday against the Twins and could use help for a bullpen that has shouldered a heavy workload of late.
The decision to DL Henderson came after he was examined Saturday afternoon by the team's head physician, William Raasch.
"He didn't see any gaps, what he was feeling around for in there, so it isn't a serious pull," Henderson said. "So, we're just kind of taking the better-safe-than-sorry route right now. If they weren't going to DL me, there would probably be that pressure to rush back. So, we'll just take our time with it. It's the first time for me."
The roster move was forecast before the game, when Roenicke told reporters, "It's going to be a while."
Henderson suffered the injury in the ninth inning on Friday on a one-out pitch to Russell Martin. Henderson said he felt his hamstring pull at the release point on the pitch while pushing off the rubber, before making an attempt to field a ground ball hit back to him.
Henderson, who is 9-for-9 in save opportunities and holds a 0.92 ERA, threw one warm-up pitch before exiting the game. He has no history of hamstring injuries.
"Hopefully, in a few days it settles down a bit, I'll get rid of this limp and I can walk around better," said Henderson, who moved very slowly around the clubhouse on Saturday. "The biggest thing for me is I want to keep my arm in shape and keep that going, because that's the key right there."
Roenicke said he would use a closer-by-committee approach during Henderson's absence.
"It's tough right now," Henderson said. "We're getting hit here [with injuries]. Some guys come back from the DL and other guys are going on. We still haven't played this year full-strength, and I know it's hurting us in all areas of the game."
Lohse aiming for Thursday return in Minnesota
MILWAUKEE -- Saturday would have been Kyle Lohse's turn in the Brewers' pitching rotation, but right elbow irritation forced him to miss a start.
The injury dates back to a start against the Cardinals on May 3, but Lohse said he threw some light catch on Saturday and is hoping to make his next start Thursday in Minnesota.
"It's kind of day by day," Lohse said. "[Returning Thursday] is what we're hoping for, that's what we're shooting for. It's hard to tell you right now."
The next step for Lohse is to throw a bullpen session on Monday, but Lohse said, "Don't hold me to that."
Lohse said he is trying to be smart about the injury by resting it now in the early part of the season.
"The worst thing to do is to keep irritating it when it doesn't feel right," he said. "To keep pushing is asking for a year-long thing."
Roenicke mulling options for Tuesday's starter
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers were reevaluating their starting pitching options for Tuesday's game against the Twins in light of closer Jim Henderson's hamstring injury on Friday.
The top internal option had been Alfredo Figaro, who suddenly became more important to Milwaukee's bullpen. If Figaro stayed in a relief role it would open a spot for a call-up from Triple-A Nashville, where the staff includes top prospects Tyler Thornburg and Johnny Hellweg.
"We talked about something a little different today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We're just trying to rearrange the bullpen now. If it was going to be Figaro's ball, who do we have as the long guy?
"If [Henderson's injury] is a DL, whoever we bring up will need to fill a certain role."
Thornburg and Hellweg, each already on the Brewers' 40-man roster, have struggled at Nashville this season. Thornburg holds an 0-6 record with a 6.99 ERA in 10 starts. Hellweg has a better ERA at 4.33, but is 2-4 and has 33 walks and 33 strikeouts.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.