Let’s take a spin through the closers circuit and see what guys are on the move up and which are trending down. We’ve also got the latest news on injuries, rehab appearances and a couple minor league prospects worth keeping an eye on.
It’s all closers, all the time that’s why we call it, closing time!
Huston Street threw 20 pitches in the Rockies bullpen on Tuesday and reported no pain in either his elbow or sore groin.
Street will throw two more bullpen sessions before heading off again on a brief rehab assignment. If all goes well, he will rejoin the Rockies sometime in mid-June.
Brad Lidge also threw a successful bullpen session on Tuesday. He has yet to mix in anything but fastballs but is expected to do so on Thursday. If all goes well, Lidge will go on a weekend minor league rehab and could return by the end of next week.
It should be noted that he is not likely to regain the closer duties in Philadelphia at least for awhile as Jose Contreras has locked down the job for the near future. Lidge will have to prove that he can stay healthy and be effective in a setup type role before being considered once again to close out ballgames.
Original Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez is throwing in extended spring training games and reporting no pain in his balky left shoulder.
The O’s plan on bringing him along slowly however and don’t expect him back until at least the end of June. He will be going out on a minor league rehab assignment of his own in a couple weeks, so keep track of his progress. At this point the only closer candidate worth considering in Baltimore when he is healthy.
Future Closer Of The Week
Chris Smith – Nashville Sounds (Brewers) – RHP – It can’t be long before the Brewers call Smith up to aid their struggling bullpen. Although his stuff isn’t overpowering, he commands the strikezone well especially with his off-speed pitches.
Smith’s best pitch is probably his hammer-like power curve that he can locate down in the zone or get swings and misses down in the dirt.
Smith is leading the PCL in saves with 15 to go along with 24 K’s in 17.2 innings. He is bound to be recalled soon and if Trevor Hoffman cannot get it back together, he could be in line to see some save opportunities down the road.
1) Mariano Rivera – Yankees
2) Jonathen Papelbon – Red Sox
3) Jonathen Broxton – Dodgers
4) Joakim Soria – Royals
5) Carlos Marmol – Cubs
6) Francisco Rodriguez – Mets
7) Heath Bell – Padres
8) Brian Wilson – Giants
9) Rafael Soriano – Rays
10) Andrew Bailey – Athletics
11) Jon Rausch – Twins
12) Francisco Cordero – Reds
13) Neftali Feliz -- Rangers
14) Matt Capps – Nationals
15) Jose Valverde – Tigers
16) Ryan Franklin – Cardinals
17) Billy Wagner – Braves
18) Leo Nunez – Marlins
19) Octavio Dotel – Pirates
On Thin Ice
20) David Aardsma – Mariners
21) Bobby Jenks – White Sox
22) Brian Fuentes – Angels
23) Jose Contreras – Phillies
24) Matt Lindstrom – Astros
25) Kevin Gregg – Blue Jays
26) Chad Qualls – Diamondbacks
27) Manny Corpas – Rockies
Keeping A Seat Warm
28) Carlos Villanueva -- Brewers
29) Kerry Wood -- Indians
Not Worth Owning
30) Will Ohman/Alfredo Simon -- Orioles
On The Horizon (Minor Leaguers)
1) Ernesto Frieri – Portland Beavers (San Diego)
2) Jay Sborz – Toledo Mudhens (Detroit)
3) Craig Kimbrel – Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta)
4) Chris Smith – Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee)
5) Scott Mathieson – Lehigh Valley Ironpigs (Philadelphia)
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