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Bullpen Report: May 31st, 2012

J.J. Putz was unavailable for Wednesday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants due to a stiff neck. The Diamondbacks’ closer received treatment prior to and during the early innings of last evening’s contest, but informed manager Kirk Gibson he wasn’t available when his neck didn’t loosen after trying to play catch in the fourth frame. David Hernandez came on in relief of Ian Kennedy with two outs in the eighth for the four-out save opportunity. Hernandez yielded two hits, but held the Giants scoreless to earn his first save of 2012.

In 24 appearances this season, Hernandez has been inducing swinging strikes at a career high 13.5% clip, which indicates his 12.52 K/9 (4.00 K/BB) looks to be real. In addition to the whiffs, solid ratios (1.93 ERA and 1.07 WHIP) make the Dbacks set-up man more than just a handcuff in deeper leagues.

Although Putz indicated he should be fine for Friday’s contest, Hernandez could get the call should there be any setback with his stiff neck.

• New York Yankees’ General Manager, Brian Cashman, expects David Robertson to be out “at least two more weeks” due to the rib cage injury the reliever sustained in early May. Since Robertson landed on the disabled list, Rafael Soriano has earned handshakes in each of his six chances, while fanning six, surrendering just one free pass and one earned run. With Soriano’s experience as a closer and his success thus far manning the ninth, Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman could allow him to continue closing out games and send Robertson back to his eighth inning role upon his return.

Jose Valverde dished a clean ninth in a non-save situation tonight against the Red Sox. Despite an ugly 1.31 K/BB and a 4.66 ERA (4.92 xFIP), the right-hander has converted his last six save opportunities and is 9-of-11 on the season.

Jonathan Broxton is another closer whose 1.71 K/BB make your eyes want to throw up — but he continues to get the job done with the game on the line — converting 11 of his last 12 save opportunities. On a side note, manager Ned Yost suggested that since returning from surgery, Broxton has proved “durable enough to go three straight days if needed.”

For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here is a matchup you may be able to exploit.

A Pitcher for Tomorrow: David Hernandez vs. SD

As previously noted, J.J. Putz was unavailable Wednesday evening due to a stiff neck. Should the regular closer be unavailable once again, Hernandez would likely get the nod in a closing situation.
Closer Grid:

  Closer First Second Injured
Arizona J.J. Putz David Hernandez Bryan Shaw  
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jonny Venters Eric O’Flaherty  
Baltimore Jim Johnson Pedro Strop Matt Lindstrom  
Boston Alfredo Aceves Franklin Morales Daniel Bard Andrew Bailey
Chicago (NL) James Russell Shawn Camp Carlos Marmol
Chicago (AL) Addison Reed Hector Santiago Matt Thornton  
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Sean Marshall Jose Arredondo  
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Tony Sipp  
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Matt Belisle Matt Reynolds  
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Octavio Dotel  
Houston Brett Myers Wilton Lopez David Carpenter  
KC Jonathan Broxton Greg Holland Aaron Crow  
LAA Scott Downs Ernesto Frieri Jordan Walden  
LAD Kenley Jansen Josh Lindblom Javy Guerra  
Miami Heath Bell Steve Cishek Edward Mujica  
Milwaukee John Axford Francisco Rodriguez Jose Veras  
Minnesota Matt Capps Glen Perkins Alex Burnett  
NY (NL) Frank Francisco Jon Rauch Bobby Parnell  
NY (AL) Rafael Soriano David Robertson Boone Logan  
Oakland Brian Fuentes Ryan Cook Grant Balfour  
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Chad Qualls  
Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan Juan Cruz Jason Grilli  
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Fernando Salas  
SD Dale Thayer Andrew Cashner Luke Gregerson Huston Street
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Javier Lopez  
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Brandon League Charlie Furbush  
Tampa Bay Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta J.P. Howell Kyle Farnsworth
Texas Joe Nathan Mike Adams Koji Uehara  
Toronto Casey Janssen Jason Frasor Darren Oliver Sergio Santos
Wash. Tyler Clippard Sean Burnett Henry Rodriguez Drew Storen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]