The Houston Astros have placed closer Brad Lidge (oblique) on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled oblique muscle in his left side. The move is retroactive to Saturday, June 16.
Lidge, who was named the closer June 10 after being replaced early this season, has not been able to record a save since then. The 30-year-old Lidge has not missed any significant time due to injuries in recent years.
Relief pitcher Dan Wheeler is one of the top candidates to take over as the team's closer until Lidge is able to return. Wheeler was the closer for most of the season but struggled in that role. Wheeler is 0-4 with 11 saves this season. He has a 5.85 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings. Chad Qualls is another player that may be considered, although he hasn't been incredibly effective either with a 5-3 record, one save, a 4.17 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings.
For teams desperate for saves, Wheeler could be an option, although fantasy owners should be ready to take the occasional blown save and loss. An extremely short-term option to replace Lidge is Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Shawn Chacon. Chacon recorded the save Tuesday, June 19, against the Seattle Mariners and is taking over as the team's closer until Matt Capps returns Thursday, June 21.
Despite the problems he faced last year and his inability to record a save since being handed the job again, fantasy owners should hold onto Lidge.
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