This was not a great week to be a closer for a handful of Major League Baseball teams. Between injuries and demotions, many teams are scrambling to find solutions to teh back end of their bullpens.
The most devastating news to any closer came to Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, who suffered a season ending ACL injury shagging fly balls. It was extremely sad to see baseball’s all-time saves leader tear up his knee in such a manner. Thankfully, it does not appear as if things will end that way for Rivera, as he announced he fully plans to come back and pitch in 2013 for New York.
While Rivera suffered the biggest injury, he was not the only one who placed his team into panic mode.
San Diego Padres closer Huston Street left last night’s game with a strain near his right shoulder. With a checkered injury past, anything that seems wrong is never a good sign with Street. He is no stranger to the disabled list throughout his career.
Aside from the injuries, both teams in the Windy City replaced their incumbent closers. The Chicago Cubs have seen enough walks from Carlos Marmol, and will go with a bullpen by committee approach in the ninth inning. Rafael Dolis and James Russell are the two leading candidates.
With the White Sox, Hector Santiago is out, and at least for the tie being, it seems as if the job has been handed to Chris Sale. Sale was once thought as the team’s closer of the future, so it appears as he will get another chance after the team saw enough struggles from Santiago.
In case you forgot, Jordan Walden already lost his job temporarily with the Los Angels Angels after a couple of bad outings in favor of veteran Scott Downs. And although he has yet to be demoted, Heath Bell has had an outright horrible time transitioning from the Padres to the Miami Marlins.
In other news, the Boston Red Sox are just happy not to have their lousy bullpen featured in every baseball headline for a week.
Kelley writes for The Pigskin Report as well as Hardball Chat. You can follow him on Twitter @RobKelley24 and Like The Rob Kelley Sports Network on Facebook. Kelley is a former sports reporter for various newspapers throughout the state of Florida, and had his first book published I'm Not a Quitter after moving back to Massachusetts.