Clay Hensley

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Clay Hensley
Hensley with the San Diego Padres
Born: (1979-08-31) August 31, 1979 (age 44)
Pearland, Texas, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 20, 2005, for the San Diego Padres
Last MLB appearance
October 3, 2012, for the San Francisco Giants
MLB statistics
Win–loss record28–34
Earned run average4.00

Clayton Allen Hensley (born August 31, 1979) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. Hensley has played in Major League Baseball for the San Diego Padres, Florida Marlins, and San Francisco Giants.

Early life[edit]

Hensley attended Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, where he set a single season record with 127 strikeouts in 100 innings.[citation needed]

Professional career[edit]

San Francisco Giants[edit]

Hensley was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 8th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball draft. On May 3, 2003, he pitched a perfect game for the South Atlantic League Hagerstown Suns.[1][2]

San Diego Padres[edit]

On July 13, 2003, he was traded to the San Diego Padres for Matt Herges. On April 5, 2005, he was suspended 15 games for testing positive for steroids while pitching in the minor leagues.[3] Later that season, he was called up from the Triple-A Portland Beavers. He emerged as a vital figure in middle relief, not allowing a home run in 47.2 innings.

Hensley with the Padres in 2008.

In 2006, Hensley made 29 starts for the San Diego Padres, with an ERA of 3.71.

Hensley began the 2007 season as the Padres' #5 starter, but was placed on the disabled list in May. After struggling in his minor league rehab starts, Hensley was optioned to the Triple-A Portland Beavers.

On August 4, 2007, Hensley gave up Barry Bonds' 755th career home run, which tied Bonds with Hank Aaron for most all-time. The next day, Hensley was optioned to the minor leagues.

Hensley was non-tendered by the Padres following the 2008 season, making him a free agent.[4]

Houston Astros[edit]

Hensley was signed by the Houston Astros on December 23, 2008, to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training worth $550,000.

Florida Marlins[edit]

In May 2009, Hensley was released by the Astros[5] and signed by the Florida Marlins.[6]

In 2010, Hensley took over the closer role from Leo Núñez.[7] For the start 2011 season, Hensley was once again being used as a setup man. However, after injury problems to both himself and Marlins ace Josh Johnson, the Marlins promoted him to the starting rotation.

Second stint with Giants[edit]

On January 26, 2012, he signed a non-guaranteed contract with the San Francisco Giants that included an invitation to Spring training. He was selected to join the Giants' 2012 Opening Day roster.[8]

Cincinnati Reds[edit]

On February 11, 2013, he signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds.[9] Hensley was released from the Reds Triple-A affiliate the Louisville Bats on May 20, thus becoming a free agent.

Milwaukee Brewers[edit]

On May 27, 2013, Hensley signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was assigned to Triple-A Nashville. He became a free agent after the season.

Washington Nationals/Sugar Land Skeeters[edit]

Hensley signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals on January 24, 2014, but was released and signed with the Sugar Land Skeeters.


Hensley retired from professional baseball on April 27, 2014.

Pitching style[edit]

Although Hensley lacked premium speed on his pitches, he used his upper-80s sinker to induce weak contact. To right-handed hitters, Hensley added a slider averaging about 80 mph and a big curveball averaging about 70 mph to the mix. To lefties, Hensley used the curveball and a changeup in the low 80s. He also occasionally threw a four-seam fastball. He delivered his pitches with a nearly straight-overhead throwing motion.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Hensley with his family at the 2012 World Series victory parade

As of June 2023, Hensley married and lives in Pearland.[11]


  1. ^ Spedden, Zach (22 September 2010). "30 Teams in 30 Days: 1983". Hagerstown Suns Fan Club. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Hensley Achieves Perfection". Baseball America. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  3. ^ Center, Bill (2005-04-05). "Steroids violators in minors". Retrieved 2010-09-04.
  4. ^ Corey Brock (2008-12-12). "Padres non-tender Hensley, Haeger". Retrieved 2010-09-04.
  5. ^ Alyson Footer (2008-12-23). "Astros sign Hensley". Retrieved 2010-09-04.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Florida Marlins: Former Padres RHP Clay Hensley joins AAA staff". 2009-05-26. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
  7. ^ "Clay Hensley will be Florida Marlins closer for now; Leo Nunez out". 2010-09-03. Archived from the original on 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
  8. ^ "Ladies and gentleman, your 2012 Giants' Opening Day roster". The San Francisco Chronicle. 2004-04-01.
  9. ^ "Reds Sign Clay Hensley".
  10. ^ "PITCHf/x Player Card: Clay Hensley". Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Gaby Sanchez, Mike Lamb hone their catching skills just in case". Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2012.

External links[edit]