MLB Baseball Report: Closer Injury Update, May 5

Todd FarinoCorrespondent IMay 5, 2011

HOUSTON - APRIL 30:  Pitcher Brandon Lyon #37 of the Houston Astros throws in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Minute Maid Park on April 30, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Brandon Lyon, HOU—Lyon will have his pitching shoulder checked out in Houston today to see why he feels the shoulder is weak. This comes after Lyon got hammered Wednesday afternoon and blew the save. Lyon has a history of injuries, but more so of being inconsistent. I'm not sure if his recent blow up isn't just him being himself.

I did not expect him to keep the closer job past mid-May, so I'm not shocked that Mark Melancon is taking over for him.

Jonathan Broxton, LAD—I reported on Broxton's elbow issues yesterday and last week. He clearly has an injury to his elbow, and we will know more of the extent of the injury later today after he has an MRI. I believe he is heading to the DL no matter what and, I suspect he will miss at least a month. Hong-Chih Kuo and Vincente Padilla will take his place for closing out games.

Neftali Feliz, TEX—Feliz should be ready to return Friday to face the New York Yankees. If a save opportunity presents itself, he will enter the game as the Rangers closer. In his final rehab tune-up, Feliz hit 100 MPH.

He is 100 percent according to himself and the Rangers.

David Aardsma, SEA—Aardsma suffered a minor setback on his return from hip surgery. He reported forearm stiffness, and while he doesn't consider it a serious issue, the team has shut him down for now. There is no time-table for Aardsma's return, even though he is ready to return in his own mind.

Even when Aardsma does return, it could be a month or more before he retakes the closer role. In the preseason, I reported that if Brandon League does a good job, I didn't see him relinquishing the job all season.

Andrew Bailey, OAK—Bailey faced live batters Wednesday. He threw 25 pitches with no problems, and reported that he felt great. He could start a rehab stint by next week and return to the majors with in two weeks.

I have not gotten word as to when he will return to the closer role and replace Brian Fuentes. While Fuentes has been effective as Oakland's closer, Bailey will take the role when they feel he is ready.

José Contreras, PHI—Contreras has already started his long toss and throwing as he rehabs his Grade 1 strain of his elbow. He is on pace for a late-May return if everything goes well until then.

Brad Lidge, PHI—Lidge has started to throw on flat ground, but nothing more has changed in his progress. He continues to heal the partially torn rotator cuff he suffered, and is still targeting an All-Star break return.

Some have speculated he could return as early as June, but I don't see the Phillies rushing him. If Contreras is back and pitching well, they certainly won't rush him.