Athletics Place Street on DL

by Andrew Stewart on May 15, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT reports Oakland Athletics closer Huston Street (elbow) has been placed on the 15-day disabled list because of irritation in his right ulnar nerve. This move is retroactive to May 13.

There is no set timetable for Street's return, but San Francisco Chronicle reporter Susan Slusser reports Florida Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson has a similar injury to his ulnar nerve, and he was expected to miss two-plus months because of the injury.

Street is a very promising closer for fantasy owners, as he saved 37 games last season and was named the American League Rookie of the Year in 2005. However, Street is also an inconsistent fantasy player; last season he accumulated 11 blown saves and made a trip to the disabled list with groin problems. He also missed time in April due to a chest injury but remained on the 25-man roster.

This most recent trip to the disabled list does nothing to help Street's value. If Street continues to be plagued by nagging injuries, he may be tagged as an injury-prone player. He has posted respectable numbers so far this season, earning all nine of the Athletics' saves, and he currently has an ERA of 2.50. Street has allowed only two runs in his last 13 appearances. He has the capability to build on that previous momentum once he rejoins the team, so now is not a good time to trade him, while his value is low.

With Street headed to the DL and Athletics relief pitcher Justin Duchscherer (hip) battling an arthritic hip, reliever Kiko Calero appears likely to get the bulk of save opportunities in the near future. So far this season, Calero has an ERA of 5.51 and a WHIP of 1.16; he cannot be expected to produce consistently. If Street misses extensive time, it could devolve into a closer-by-committee situation. Duchscherer has filled the role during previous stints when Street has missed time. Relief pitcher Alan Embree also might be given an opportunity to pitch in late-inning situations.

Fantasy owners looking for a replacement will find the waiver wire barren of quality closers. Street's replacement, Calero, should be available if one acts quickly. Another option might be Toronto Blue Jays reliever Jeremy Accardo, who appears to be becoming the team's full-time closer now that closer B.J. Ryan (shoulder) has been lost for the season. At this point in the season, though, Accardo has a slim chance of being available. A deeper option could be Washington Nationals reliever Jon Rauch, who served as closer while Chad Cordero was on the bereavement list. Cordero has returned, but the club hasn't reinserted him as the closer yet. Rauch could be worth the shot, at least in the short term.

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About Andrew Stewart

Andrew Stewart has been a Hot off the Wire Analyst for KFFL since 2007.

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