7/19/2014 11:49 P.M. ET
Smith feeling better after lower back issue
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- There was no humorous anecdote behind Brewers reliever Will Smith showing up for work after the All-Star break unable to pitch because of a bad back. He simply woke up on his final day off feeling stiff.
"All I did over the break was play golf and sit by the pool," said Smith, who stayed at his parents' home in Georgia. "I play golf a lot, so there's nothing out of the ordinary there. But I woke up Wednesday morning and I was like, 'Oh, that doesn't feel good.'"
He received treatment Friday and was deemed a no-go for the Brewers' second-half opener against the Nationals. Another left-hander, Zach Duke, helped preserve a 4-2 win.
Smith played catch Saturday afternoon and was feeling much better.
Having Duke (1.16 ERA and unscored upon in his last 10 outings entering Saturday) as a backup for Smith (55 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings this season) is, "Pretty good," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "When [general manager] Doug [Melvin] talked to Zach about coming over with is, one of the things he said was, 'Look, we haven't had [a surplus of] left-handers here before, and you've got a really good chance to make our team.'"
Henderson moves to Triple-A to continue rehab
WASHINGTON -- Persistent rains at Double-A Huntsville were part of what prompted a promotion to Triple-A Nashville for rehabbing Brewers reliever Jim Henderson, who is "still a little ways away" from rejoining the big league bullpen, according to general manager Doug Melvin.
Melvin did cite positive progress for Henderson, who has battled a troublesome right shoulder since Spring Training, but declined to provide a report of recent velocities. It was the lack of zip on Henderson's fastball in the spring that prompted the Brewers to anoint Francisco Rodriguez the closer prior to the start of the regular season.
"I don't want to get into [radar gun readings]," Melvin said. "We want to get him back to throwing strikes. ... We thought he was making some progress, but we want to make sure he's completely healthy and back to throwing strikes on a consistent basis."
Henderson is on his second 30-day Minor League rehabilitation assignment. He was recalled from the first one in May after the shoulder flared up again, and was sent back out on July 3 for another 30-day stint.
Melvin said another rehabbing reliever, Tyler Thornburg, who has been on the DL since early June because of a right elbow injury, is throwing off the mound in Arizona.
"We hope to get him back at some point [before the end of this season]," Melvin said.
The Brewers are closely monitoring the progress of both of those pitchers, who played prominent roles during the team's 20-8 March and April, as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline draws near. The Angels made the first strike on the relief market Friday when they executed a six-player swap with the Padres to land closer Huston Street.
Asked whether the Brewers had checked in with the Padres on Street, Melvin said, "I check in on a lot of guys."
Much of the analysis of Friday's trade centered on the price paid by the Angels, who received Street for the rest of this season and all of next season and a relief prospect in exchange for four prospects, including one of Los Angeles' top prospects, Taylor Lindsey. Melvin pointed out that when the Brewers acquired setup man Scott Linebrink from the Padres in July 27, the price was three quality prospects.
"Relievers become costly for the few innings they pitch," Melvin said.
Weeks' missing helmet leads to dugout confusion
WASHINGTON -- Scooter Gennett's stiff leg and Rickie Weeks' missing helmet combined for a confusing moment in the eighth inning of Saturday's 8-3 loss to the Nationals.
Manager Ron Roenicke explained the situation after the game. Gennett started Saturday despite feeling tightness in one of his legs, but with Nationals left-hander Jerry Blevins on to pitch the eighth, Roenicke opted to pinch-hit the right-handed Weeks.
One problem: He couldn't find his helmet. Eager to move the lopsided game along -- Washington led at the time, 8-1 -- home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza approached the Brewers' dugout and expressed urgency. With the helmet still missing in action, Roenicke instead sent backup catcher Martin Maldonado to bat.
Maldonado hit the second pitch he saw for a single, and Ryan Braun followed with a two-run home run.
Gennett's leg is not considered a serious matter.
"We don't think so," Roenicke said. "He played. We knew it was tight, and the second or third inning, we watched him and I thought if there was a time in the game and I could get him out of there, I would get him out of there."
• Right-hander Kevin Shackelford, who was designated for assignment Thursday to open a 40-man roster spot for utility man Irving Falu, cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Double-A Huntsville. Recently-signed right-hander Manny Barreda was also assigned to Huntsville.