The Associated Press reports the Atlanta Braves have placed closer Rafael Soriano (elbow) on the 15-day disabled list with elbow tendonitis. The move is retroactive to Monday, April 7.
Heading into his first campaign as a full-time closer, Soriano had been fighting elbow troubles throughout spring training and the early part of the season before finally being shut down. He also had Tommy John surgery Aug. 17, 2004, which cut his '04 and '05 seasons short. Soriano, a No. 2 fantasy closer heading into this season, has pitched in four games this season, allowing only one run on two hits in four innings while picking up one save. He has struck out five batters with a 2.25 ERA.
Last season, Soriano was mostly a setup man during the season but did have some opportunities to pick up saves while competing with relievers Bob Wickman, Mike Gonzalez (elbow) and Octavio Dotel (Chicago White Sox). Soriano finished last season 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA and 0.86 WHIP while recording nine saves in 71 appearances. He was able to strike out 70 batters in only 72 innings. He gave up 12 home runs during his appearances but only walked 15 batters during the season. Opposing batters were only able to muster a .181 batting average against Soriano.
Setup men Peter Moylan and Manuel Acosta will now have a shot to save games. Moylan had a tremendous 2007 season, going 5-3 with 1.80 ERA in 90 innings. He was also able to pick up one save during the season. Moylan has continued his stellar pitching this season with a 1.93 ERA and has only allowed one run on five hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Acosta made only 21 appearances last year, going 1-1 with 2.28 ERA and striking out 22 batters in only 23 2/3 innings. Acosta has struggled so far this season. He has posted a 9.00 ERA after allowing four runs in only four innings. Acosta was already a good reliever in National League-only leagues, but now has added value because of the opportunity he has in front of him. With Soriano unavailable Monday, April 7, Acosta was saved for the end of the game because Moylan had pitched in two straight games.
Moylan has been the more reliable option this season, so manager Bobby Cox could go to him first. The team will reportedly give Acosta a chance, also, so if you miss out on Moylan, feel free to scoop up Acosta.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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