Jim Henderson sizzles in return to majors after two-year absence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nearly two years after his last big league appearance, former Milwaukee Brewers closer Jim Henderson had a triumphant return to the majors on Tuesday.

Henderson, 33, tossed a perfect seventh inning that included strikeouts of Alex Gordon and Omar Infante in the New York Mets’ 2-0 win against the Kansas City Royals. Henderson's fastball averaged a sizzling 96.7 mph.

Henderson last had appeared in the majors on May 1, 2014. He underwent the second shoulder surgery of his career that August and had struggled to get back to the majors ever since the procedure.

“That was exciting,” Henderson said of Tuesday's outing. “I didn’t really have the butterflies like I did in [my] debut and stuff, like I thought I might have. I probably was more nervous in spring training than I was today. I just felt under control in the bullpen the whole time, and then I just took that out to the game and was as aggressive as I could be out there.”

Henderson displayed solid fastball velocity during spring training, sitting at 95 mph on occasion while often residing in the low 90s. Buoyed by adrenaline, he took it to another level Tuesday, although it will be interesting to see if he can sustain it.

“You can’t do that in spring training. You don’t have 40,000 people there,” Henderson said. “To be honest, it was kind of effortless today. I was probably putting more effort into pitches in spring training than I was today.”

Said manager Terry Collins: “It’s a great story. He came in today and threw very good. I’m really impressed how he handled spring training. We’ll try to make sure we get him some rest during the season and not try to overuse him.”