Philadelphia.Phillies.MLB.com reports Philadelphia Phillies closer Tom Gordon (shoulder) has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation of the right rotator cuff. The move was made retroactive to Wednesday, May 2.
Everything had seemed fine for Gordon as he picked up his fifth save of the season Tuesday, May 1. However, the next morning he reported to the ballpark complaining of discomfort in his right shoulder. Thus, instead of traveling with the team to San Francisco, Gordon returned to Philadelphia to have his shoulder checked out by team doctors.
This is just the type of injury the team had hoped to avoid with Gordon. During the tail end of the 2006 season, Gordon came down with a similar ailment and wound up on the disabled list. Philadelphia was hoping to limit his innings this year as they sought to keep the 39-yeard-old closer healthy for the full season. Instead, it turned out to be another disappointment in an already disappointing start for the 13-15 Phillies.
One positive out of the situation is that Gordon returned rather quickly from a similar injury last year. During that time he was out just 20 days before coming back off the disabled list. While that represents a sizable chunk of time, it is still far better than it could have been. The team has yet to release a timetable for a return from his current injury.
The team called up pitcher Yoel Hernandez from Triple-A Ottawa to fill Gordon's roster spot; however, Hernandez has no fantasy value for you. Starting pitcher-turned-closer Brett Myers will have his value increased, as he took the role for the Phillies and picked up his first save Thursday, May 3. Myers may be sporting a high ERA (6.20); however, most of that damage was done when he was starting at the beginning of the season. Over his last six appearances (6 1/3 innings), Myers has not allowed any earned runs while striking out 10 batters. There is a chance he will be available in your league, and if so, he is worth picking up.
If Myers is unavailable, another player to look at would be Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Joakim Soria. In jus his first year in the majors, Soria has been surprisingly good at the back end of games. In 14 innings pitched this season, Soria has a 2.57 ERA with 16 strikeouts and five saves. One drawback is that the Royals haven't been winning as much as most teams, so his save opportunities will likely be limited.
Two other options to check out would be Atlanta Braves relief pitchers Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez. Soriano and Gonzalez have been tagged to split the closing duties until Bob Wickman (back) returns. Gonzalez does not have a save yet; however, his ERA is a low 1.59 and he has nine strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings pitched. He has past experience, converting all 24 of his save opportunities for the Pirates last year. Soriano already has two saves this year to go along with five holds and is sporting a 0.98 WHIP. His ERA is a bit high at 4.05, but that will likely come down in time. He has not allowed an earned run in his last six appearances (six innings). Gonzalez, a left-hander, and Soriano, a right-hander, will likely be used based on the matchups, so it's difficult to predict which player will get the chance each night.
Each one of these pitchers would be a decent option to slot in as Gordon's replacement for the time being; however, if you want to challenge for your fantasy title, you will want Gordon to make a quick return. As stated above, there has been no set timetable for his return yet, so keep an eye on KFFL for any updates on his status.
About Bryce McRae
Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.
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