LAS VEGAS — Jim Henderson arrived at Mets camp with little more than an invitation. There were no promises of anything more than a chance. He had no expectations.
But after two seasons spent reeling from the second shoulder surgery of his career, the one-time Brewers closer emerged from spring training with a spot in the Mets’ bullpen.
“Coming into the offseason, I didn’t know whether I was going to be in independent ball or have any kind of contract,” said Henderson, who spent all last season in the minors. “But I knew I was going to play, and I was just going to give it all I had for this next year. And I’m happy it brought me to this point.”
Henderson, 33, proved himself healthy by finishing spring training with a 1.69 ERA.
Mets officials had debated carrying an extra position player at the expense of a pitcher, leaving Henderson without a roster spot. But when manager Terry Collins announced the roster Friday, the thinking had changed.
With Matt Harvey still on medication a week removed from a bladder infection, Collins said the Mets wanted insurance. “We wanted to protect ourselves,” he said.
Logan Verrett won the battle for the long reliever spot, with lefty Sean Gilmartin ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas, where he will serve as rotation depth.
With a traditional seven-man bullpen, utilityman Eric Campbell got the nod over infielder Matt Reynolds, who will return to Las Vegas.
Catcher Kevin Plawecki will start the year in the big leagues as Travis d’Arnaud’s backup. The Mets had debated sending Plawecki to the minors for regular at-bats.
“I’m just excited and ready to get the season going,” he said.
Reynolds, Gilmartin and reliever Erik Goeddel were optioned to Las Vegas. Goeddel had been competing for a spot in the bullpen.
Pitcher Zack Thornton and catcher Johnny Monell were reassigned to Triple-A. In a procedural move, lefty Josh Edgin and Zack Wheeler were placed on the 15-day disabled list. Each is completing his rehab from Tommy John surgery.