Heath Bell is losing control of his ERA and any chance of retaining the Arizona Diamondbacks' closer gig when J.J. Putz (elbow) returns sometime in the next two weeks or so. Bell has yielded a homer in four straight contests, along with seven knocks.
It's easy to think he'll be drop material in shallower setups when Putz gets back, but if you need every closure you can get, don't release him without heavy deliberation. Kirk Gibson has said numerous times that he wants to conserve Putz's workload, and the initial stages after a DL return, maybe even deeper into the summer, should provide a window for Bell to continue chipping in.
That being said, until Bell gets his location and effectiveness right, you should probably bench him.
Francisco Rodriguez registered save No. 299 on Wednesday, one short of an illustrious accomplishment. The Milwaukee Brewers should allow him to net his 300th soon, but Ron Roenicke said that Jim Henderson is back to being the regular closer. K-Rod will slide in when Hendo is a no-go.
So naturally, Roenicke installed Henderson into the eighth inning on Wednesday and Thursday. The former was, per skip, a "need to pitch" day; Henderson had been idle on six of the previous seven. Henderson was warming and called upon because Rickie Weeks hit a go-ahead homer. They wanted to use him while he was fresh. That led to Rodriguez moving one step closer to history. On Thursday, it was a matchup ploy that went wrong as Henderson surrendered a game-tying homer to Carlos Corporan.
With K-Rod as a backup plan, shallow leaguers could turn him loose if they must fill other needs. History can only take his worth so far.
The Cleveland Indians' goal of activating Chris Perez (shoulder) from the disabled list Friday won't be realized. The right-hander will instead be re-evaluated after a bullpen session today. He gave up three homers and five runs on Tuesday for Double-A Akron, so they probably believe he needs more time to work on mechanics. (He's coming open a little soon on his delivery.) They don't appear to have any physical concerns about him at the moment.
Vinnie Pestano, who finally logged his first two bowties of the season this past week, will continue filling in for however long Perez must remain under surveillance.
Maybe all this talk of a potential trade is bugging Jonathan Papelbon, who's blown two of his last three save chances. Perhaps it's because Wednesday's gaffe (home run on two hits and a walk) came on his third straight day of work for the Philadelphia Phillies.
For what it's worth, Ruben Amaro Jr. again denied that he's looking to trade Paps or starter Cliff Lee. If the Phightins phall pharther back in the standings, though, they might at least listen to offers. Should they pull off a swap, Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo would probably split the gig, with Adams the expected (not by much) leader. We'll be watching this for the next month-plus.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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