KANSAS CITY -- The butterflies that floated into Jim Henderson's stomach during his Spring Training debut were mostly gone by Tuesday, when he took the mound for his first regular-season outing in 23 months. Henderson, the former Brewers closer who signed a Minor League deal with the Mets over the winter, was too jacked up on adrenaline to feel any nerves.
It showed on the mound, in his demeanor, and especially in his velocity. After undergoing the second shoulder surgery of his career in 2014, and struggling to recapture his former mid-90s velocity, Henderson dialed his four-seamer up to 96 mph in the seventh inning of the Mets' 2-0 win over the Royals.
"That was exciting," Henderson said. "I just felt under control in the bullpen the whole time, and just took that out to the game. I was aggressive as I could be out there."
Though Henderson pitched well throughout Spring Training, his status on the outside of the Mets' 40-man roster looking in made it far from certain that he would make the team. But when the Mets decided to travel to Kansas City with a full complement of seven relief pitchers, Henderson made the cut -- a career reborn at age 33.
"It's a great story," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He came in today and threw very good. I'm really impressed with how he handled Spring Training. We'll try to make sure we get him some rest during the season, not try to overuse him. But it was good to get him in a game today."