ESPNews reports the Kansas City Royals have placed closer Octavio Dotel (oblique) on the 15-day disabled list.
Dotel has a 37-31 record with 71 saves in his nine-year career. He was signed by the Royals in the offseason and was expected to close despite a poor showing in limited time in 2006 with the New York Yankees. He missed the second half of 2005 and most of 2006 following Tommy John surgery. Earlier this spring Dotel stated that he felt his elbow was capable of taking the heavy workload required of a closer. He started to show signs of a sore oblique immediately following spring training; the two injuries appear unrelated. Originally the team expected him to only miss the first few days of the season, but further examination prompted KC to put Dotel on the shelf.
Manager Buddy Bell has stated that David Riske will serve as the closer while Dotel is out. The 30-year-old reliever pitched 44 innings last season with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox. He posted a 3.89 ERA and 28 strikeouts. The main reason Bell chose Riske was because he does have closing experience, with 16 career saves. However, he is not the most solid choice because he has also blown 14 saves in his career.
Riske could live up to his name and is in fact a risky choice, so fantasy owners could consider other options. The Cincinnati Reds will probably be relying on relievers David Weathers or Mike Stanton to close games, but they haven't made it clear who will take the bulk of the closing duties. Both have closing experience, but relief pitchers Kirk Saarloos and Todd Coffey are also in the mix. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays' closer situation is also an option, but because there's so much uncertainty there, and because whoever does win the job still may not see too many save opportunities, that might serve as a last resort. Nevertheless, reliever Al Reyes appears to be the lead in that role.
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