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Meet: Sean Henn

More meat for the grinder?  Or a miracle cure?  I'd settle for something inbetween.

Once upon a time, in the long long ago of 2000, Sean Henn was a no-expectations 26th-round draft choice.  In retrospect he may have been the Yankees' best selection of that draft, considering the three guys drafted in front of him that actually made the major leagues are either out of baseball or haven't been above triple-A since 2005 (Matt Smith, round 4; Jason Anderson, round 10; Brad Halsey, round 19).

Baseball America showed a little love for Henn early on, ranking him New York's number six prospect in 2002 and following that up with a number ten ranking in '03.  In fact, coming out of 2003 the only numbers that could give you reservations about Henn were the walks.  He was a strikeout threat, didn't give up a lot of homers and allowed less than a hit per inning.  After spending all of 2004 on the Yankee double-A squad, he started '05 at the same place with excellent results.  Henn pitched more than 25 innings and allowed just two runs, earning him an early promotion to triple-A.

Getting to triple-A and just having turned 24, Henn was right on track and had to have been a pleasant surprise considering how late he was drafted.  He even made three starts for the Yankees in '05, in place of an injured Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown.

His major league experience since his debut that season have been marred by something less than mediocre performance.  He walked too many guys, he gave up too many hits, and in spite of nabbing the 25th roster spot coming out of spring training 2007 he couldn't stick.  Henn bounced between the majors and triple-A until he hit the disabled list in the spring of '08 and was designated for assignment while on a rehab stint.  San Diego claimed him off waivers but once again, in spite of the ability to miss bats, he also missed the strike zone.  The Padres out-righted him to triple-A just one month after claiming him.

This past December, the Twins took a flyer.  Henn has responded with surprising results, saving six games for the Red Wings over 24 innings.  He's struck out 32, allowed just a pair of homers, and has limited his base runners.  It's certainly encouraging, but it's also what you expect out of a 28-year old pitching to triple-A hitters for the fifth consecutive season.

Henn may not have long to make an impression with the Twins.  The Twins will decide who to call up as a fifth starter as Glen Perkins' turn comes up in the rotation this weekend, meaning Sean may have all of two chances to impress.  If he does, either Luis Ayala or R.A. Dickey may find themselves either looking for work or working in triple-A.  Should Henn not deliver, he'll likely be sent back to the minors when Minnesota makes a move on Kevin Mulvey or Anthony Swarzak.

In the mean time, Henn needs to be able to locate his plus fastball.  It comes in around 92-93, and he compliments it with a slider and a changeup.