Checking in with Brewers closer Jim Henderson ahead of season

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- In big time business negotiations, one side will occasionally bring in someone to finish the deal -- the closer. In big league baseball, it's the same thing.

Have arm, will travel. After signing out of his native Calgary in 2003, Jim Henderson has played professional baseball in Florida, Vermont, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee, Iowa, Tennessee again, Iowa again, Wisconsin, Florida again, Alabama, Tennessee again, and finally -- some placed called the Major Leagues.

After all of that, it is understandable that Henderson avoids as much drama as possible in his role as the Brewers closer.

"I try to keep it simple out there. If you've seen me pitch, I don't get too emotional or take things too seriously. I just try to get the three outs -- try not to beat myself," Henderson said.

The big right-hander's game plan does not involve worrying about who's on deck or finesse or fiddling with his cap and his belt and the rosin bag.

"More of an attack. You kind of give that impression that you're going to come in and attack them, and if it's a look or the way you pitch, either way -- that's what you want to bring out there when you come out for the ninth inning," Henderson said.

What makes Henderson's story even more interesting is that he was just a journeyman minor leaguer with a shoulder problem when he actually started to get better after shoulder surgery.

"I never threw this hard my whole life. I just kind of kept on coming. After shoulder surgery, each year, I started throwing harder and harder and it's just that something clicked. It's funny -- sometimes you don't think that not everybody can do that. You know, I feel that everybody can throw 95-plus. For some reason, it just doesn't make sense to me that I feel fortunate that I can," Henderson said.

Henderson is a lot different than he was as that fresh-faced Canadian rookie in the Expos organization.

"I think last year I hit some top miles an hour. As hard as I've thrown -- you see guys pitching into their late 30s and early 40s now, so I guess that would be nice. I'm just trying to take it year by year right now and just trying to stay healthy and on the field," Henderson said.

Having led the nomadic life of a pitcher on the climb, at this stage, Henderson would be very content to be on the field in Milwaukee year by year.

Henderson and his teammates are leaving the sunshine of Arizona for the chill of Wisconsin this week. They play exhibition games against the Royals Friday night and Saturday afternoon at Miller Park.

Opening Day is next Monday, March 31st.

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