The Mets took a flier on reliever Jim Henderson, signing the former Brewers closer Thursday to a minor-league deal as he attempts a comeback from the shoulder surgery that derailed his career.
The 33-year-old righthander also received an invitation to spring training, where he’ll have a chance to make a Mets bullpen that could use a few more options in the back end.
Henderson enjoyed a breakout season in 2013, when he racked up 28 saves and posted a 2.70 ERA for the Brewers. The former Expos draft pick had broken in the previous season after a decade in the minor leagues.
But Henderson last pitched in the big leagues in 2014, when lingering shoulder soreness ultimately led to season-ending labrum and rotator cuff debridement surgery.
Last season, Henderson pitched in the minor leagues. He spent most of the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he posted a 4.55 ERA in 29 appearances. But the reliever endured inconsistent results and never came came close to regaining his form as he tried to regain the lost velocity on his fastball.
Even when healthy, Henderson battled with his command at times. But he also featured a mid-90s fastball with a biting slider, a combination that helped him to 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
Viva Las Vegas. The Mets are expected to play the final two games of their spring training schedule in Las Vegas, home of their Triple-A affiliate. A source confirmed that the Cubs and Mets will square off at Cashman Field on March 31 and April 1.
The matchup will be the Mets’ final tune-up before opening the season in a World Series rematch against the Royals on April 3.