-The Boston Red Sox have shut down their 39-year-old closer, Koji Uehara, for the time being after experiencing tightness in his shoulder after completing a session of long-toss. The right-hander will attempt to throw again tomorrow (Sunday) before Boston’s brass determines if a trip to the disabled list will be necessary for their ninth-inning man. For the Red Sox and fantasy owners, the concern here lies in the comparison Uehara made between the stiffness he felt in the shoulder this Friday and the injury he suffered as a member of the Rangers two years ago. Then, the should stiffness continued to resurface, resulting in a two-and-a-half month stint on the shelf.
Through five trips to the hill this season, Uehara is a perfect 2-for-2 in save chances with a 0.00 ERA (2.71 xFIP) and a 36.8% K% (0% BB%). That’s the good news. If there’s anything to be concerned about over the current sample of appearances, aside from the shoulder stiffness, could be the dip in velocity on each of his primary offerings. He’s down more than a mile-per-hour on both his fastball and splitter from last season’s readings, but the dip isn’t as severe when comparing to his career average velocities on those pitches.
In the meantime, veteran right-hander Edward Mujica will get the nod in save situations. Mujica notched his first save last evening in the Bronx with a clean inning of work, facing the minimum and striking out one. For his career, the 30-year-old now has 42 saves under his belt — 37 of which were recorded last season as a member of the Cardinals — with a 3.80 ERA and a 19.7% K%. Mujica should be immediately added in all leagues until additional details regarding Uehara’s injury are released. Mujica is currently available in 57% of Yahoo! leagues.
–Jose Veras suffered his second blown save of the season Friday evening in stellar fashion. He plunked two batters, walked another and surrendered a single to blow a 3-1 lead for Jeff Samardzija and the Cubbies sending the game to extras. Following the game, Cubs skipper Rick Renteria initially stated Veras would still be their ninth-inning guy, but just hours later, the manager announced his decision to pull Veras from the closer’s role for the time being. Veras is 0-for-2 in save opportunities with a 12.27 ERA and a 2.45 WHIP in five trips to the bump so far this season.
While Veras attempts to fix himself, Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm and Pedro Strop could get the call in save situations for the Cubs. Rondon picked up the save Friday evening against the Cardinals — the first of his career — and has a 0.00 ERA with a 33.3% K% in six appearances this season. Right-hander Justin Grimm hasn’t yet saved a game in the bigs, but is also the owner of a 0.00 ERA and a 30% K% in seven trips to the bump early on. Strop has just five career saves, but accumulated 39 successful save conversions during his Minor League years with the Rockies and Rangers organizations. If I’m looking for saves in the Cubs bullpen, I’m adding Strop, Rendon, then Grimm — in that order.
–Rex Brothers picked up a hold despite walking two and facing six batters.
–Cody Allen looked sharp, striking out three while picking up a hold this afternoon.
–Jordan Walden earned a hold in a one-inning two strikeout effort against the Nationals.
With respect to the grid, the Cubs moved to the “red” and Kyle Farnsworth was added as the eighth-inning man for the Metropolitans. Gonzalez German was left off the chart but should not be forgotten.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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