6/19/2014 1:22 A.M. ET
Henderson takes huge step with mound session
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Reliever Jim Henderson was back on a mound on Wednesday for the first time since suffering a setback in his comeback from a right shoulder injury, and deemed the session a modest success.
"Probably the best it's felt since before Spring Training, but," Henderson said, emphasizing that last word, "it's only one bullpen."
Henderson threw 25 fastballs in the bullpen at Chase Field on Wednesday afternoon. He will remain in Phoenix when the Brewers depart following Thursday's series finale against the D-backs, and will continue his rehab at Maryvale Baseball Park. The Brewers have a state-of-the-art rehab facility there, and the club's rookie-level Arizona League affiliate opens its season on Friday.
Right-hander Tyler Thornburg, who is on the disabled list with an elbow injury, is also expected to remain behind.
"These guys need to take care of the guys who are on the field, make sure everybody up here [in the Major Leagues] is performing to the best of their ability," Henderson said. "To go down there and get the work in is what I need. I can get into a routine here."
Because Henderson is facing more bullpen sessions, then throwing batting practice, then another Minor League rehab assignment, the best-case scenario does not have him back with the Brewers until after the All-Star break.
That would still leave him two-plus months to contribute to a team that expected to open the season with Henderson as its closer, a role he filled ably in 2013 after John Axford faltered.
Henderson converted 28 of 32 save chances and posted a 2.70 ERA but worked with diminished velocity this spring, leading the Brewers to open the season with Francisco Rodriguez in the closer's role.
"We need to get Henderson back to where he can help us," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's a guy that did a great job for us, and we need another good arm out there."
Roenicke has no interest in HBP battles
PHOENIX -- If you were surprised that the Brewers did not seek retribution for the fastball that found its way to Ryan Braun's backside in Tuesday's win over the D-backs, you haven't been looking at the numbers.
These say that the Brewers typically avoid getting into hit-by-pitch battles.
"Some clubs feel different about it," manager Ron Roenicke said on Wednesday afternoon. "How many times we get hit during a season and how many times we hit people, it should explain how we feel about it. We do the right things. We try to play the right way, and I'm not in control of what happens on the other side."
Since Roenicke took over in 2011, Brewers pitchers have plunked 125 opponents, and Brewers batters have been hit 248 times. Three times in those four seasons, Brewers pitchers ranked last in the National League in HBPs, and three times, Brewers hitters have ranked in the top three in being hit.
This season, Brewers pitchers are tied with those of the Braves with 18 hit batsmen. Meanwhile, Brewers batters had the third-most HBPs, at 31.
"It's not just this year," Roenicke said. "We try to pitch the way we should pitch. We don't throw at people. There's a time you have to pitch inside to get people out. Good hitters you have to pitch inside. So that's what happens.
"I've seen teams get hurt by it, yes. But I don't think it's part of the game. Just pitch. Get people out."
• Though the Brewers will be in Denver this weekend, drivers could experience heavy traffic around Miller Park, because the stadium is hosting about 35,000 people on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Regional Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT each day. Organizers expect traffic to be at its peak during the Friday-morning rush hour.
• The Brewers on Wednesday formally announced deals with eighth-round Draft pick JB Kole, a right-hander from Villanova University, and 10th-rounder Javier Salas, a right-hander from the University of Miami. Each of Milwaukee's first 12 selections -- and 25 overall -- has signed.
The Brewers also signed undrafted free agent Wesley Cox, a right-hander from the University of Texas-San Antonio.
All three were assigned to Rookie-level Helena.
• Roenicke had high praise on Wednesday for Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt.
"I can't tell you that there's somebody better in the game than he is," Roenicke said. "Maybe there is. I can name some guys, maybe three or four, that are as good as him. He's incredible. The at-bats, we've tried to pitch him hard in, and he hits a homer. We've tried to pitch him down and away, and he hits a homer or a double in the gap. We try to pitch him offspeed, and he rips that. We try to go hard stuff up, he rips that. There's not any holes. It's really hard to pitch to guys that don't have any weaknesses, and I don't see any. Maybe we're doing something wrong, but I don't see any."