4/9/2014 7:59 P.M. ET
Braun's big night has opponents taking notice
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- With one big night, Ryan Braun is back to being a hitter for whom opposing teams must plan.
"Well, he hit a ball down by his ankles out of the ballpark and he hit one out over the plate," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, referring to Braun's three home runs on Tuesday night. "You know he's a guy we really have to pay attention to, and he was a cold hitter coming in. So, yesterday he changed that for sure. But we'll have attention about how we're going to pitch him and we'll be a little bit more cautious that he is swinging a good bat."
Braun's homers were his first since last May 22, and he entered Tuesday night's game batting .150.
He changed his fortunes with a three-run home run in the third inning, a solo shot in the fourth and another three-run home run in the eighth.
"I thought it all started with the catch he made in right field with two men on [to end the second inning]," Sandberg said. "For me, that was an early-game momentum changer, and then to come back and us not play good on defense and then put four runs up there, was a big swing right there. But it started with the defensive play for me."
Braun said he surprised himself with his big night, because he has been dealing with a painful nerve issue at the base of his right thumb. Asked whether he was feeling the pain from his three home runs on Wednesday afternoon, Braun shrugged and said, "It's OK. It always feels better after a night like that."
Simple approach yields results for Henderson
PHILADELPHIA -- How did Brewers reliever Jim Henderson find his fastball? By not looking too hard.
"I'm trying to keep it simple lately," Henderson said. "Just trying to stay back in my delivery, load and then explode."
That approach produced Henderson's best outing by far of the young season on Tuesday night. He touched 97 mph on the Citizens Bank Park radar gun while retiring all three Phillies hitters he faced, including left-handed sluggers Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown on strikeouts, to finish a 10-4 Brewers victory.
Henderson, 28-for-32 in save opportunities last season, was pitching in a lopsided game since being removed from the closer's role before the first pitch of the regular season, following an uneven Spring Training in which Henderson's velocity was down in the low 90s.
Tuesday's outing was good enough, manager Ron Roenicke said, to move Henderson into the setup mix with right-hander Brandon Kintzler and left-hander Will Smith. Having three pitchers to cover the seventh and eighth innings when the Brewers lead is crucial, Roenicke said.
"Depending on what we see in the game, and how it matches up, if everything is right, yeah, [Henderson is in that mix]," Roenicke said. "Everything looked good. He looked relaxed, his rhythm was good, his command was good, he had good life on the ball."
"Hey," Henderson said, "it was only one outing. But it felt really good. When I hit my higher numbers, 97 or 98 [mph], that's max effort, everything timing up. You can feel it when you're out there. I usually throw those speeds when I'm ahead in the count, so I can really rear back for a little extra."
The only negative was that Roenicke had to choose Henderson over Rule 5 pick Wei-Chung Wang, who had yet to make his Major League debut after the Brewers' first seven games. Roenicke has been waiting for a lopsided game to work Wang in.
"We were trying to decide which one to bring in," Roenicke said. "I'm glad I brought Henderson in. We'll get Wang in there, but games that we win, we need Henderson to be a part of that."
Segura back in lineup after being hit on elbow
PHILADELPHIA -- Brewers shortstop Jean Segura successfully completed batting practice and remained in the starting lineup on Wednesday, a day after he was struck flush on the left elbow by an errant pitch in the team's win over the Phillies.
Segura was hit by a 92-mph fastball from Phillies reliever Brad Lincoln with one out in the eighth inning, one batter before Ryan Braun belted his third home run. Segura was able to remain in the game.
"He got smoked pretty good," manager Ron Roenicke said. "It got him straight on the elbow, right on the bone. It's a little swollen, but not as bad as I thought."
That Segura was able to stay in the game was good news, since the Brewers had already used both of their backup middle infielders. Had Segura exited, Roenicke said he would have either moved Mark Reynolds to second base and Jeff Bianchi to shortstop, or moved Reynolds to third and Aramis Ramirez to shortstop.
• Roenicke did something Tuesday and Wednesday that he rarely got to do last season: He wrote the same lineup card two games in a row.
"Last year, we had some good looking lineups, but every day I wrote it down and it was different," he said. "It was, 'Who hits third and fourth today?'"
• Triple-A Nashville Sounds right-hander Mike Fiers struck out nine batters, including seven in a row during one stretch, while allowing one run on three hits in six innings of a winning season debut on Tuesday night. The seven consecutive strikeouts were one shy of a Pacific Coast League record, set by Vean Gregg (Portland) in 1910 and tied by John Montefusco (Phoenix) in 1974.
Fiers was a surprise star for the Brewers in 2012, but could not recapture that magic last season, when he was demoted after a poor showing in the Majors. His season ended in mid-June, when Fiers was struck by a line drive and suffered a broken right forearm.
• Major League Baseball on Wednesday announced the creation of the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award, named for the seven-time NL All-Star who finished his career with the Brewers from 2009-10. A similar award in the American League was named for Mariano Rivera.
The winners will be chosen by a panel of nine of the greatest relief pitchers in history, including Hoffman, Rivera and the four living Hall of Fame relief pitchers -- Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Rich "Goose" Gossage and Bruce Sutter.