Tom Haudricourt, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reports the Milwaukee Brewers announced Friday, May 23, that closer Eric Gagne (shoulder) is going on the 15-day disabled list with rotator cuff tendonitis, retroactive to Wednesday, May 21. Gagne felt the shoulder stiffness after pitching Tuesday, May 20.
Gagne has not had a very good start to the 2008 season. In 20 appearances, he has a 1-2 record with 10 saves and five blown saves, which is the second most in the majors. He has struck out 18 batters and walked 16 batters in 19 1/3 innings. After picking up a loss May 10, Gagne said he didn't deserve to pitch in the ninth inning and was pulled from the role by manager Ned Yost. That break didn't last long. He was back in that role two days later to pick up his 10th save of the season. Yost stated that he believed Gagne just needed to get away from closing and that Monday, May 12, was the day.
There are several relief pitchers the Brewers could use while he is gone. Relief pitcher Salomon Torres will likely be the pitcher who will get the first opportunity to close. He is 3-1 with a 3.10 ERA and one save so far this season. He picked up 12 saves in each 2006 and '07 as the Pittsburgh Pirates closer. Owners in both deep leagues and shallow leagues should look to pick him up because of his short-term saves potential.
The Brewers have also used relief pitchers Guillermo Mota and Brian Shouse in the closer role in the past few weeks, so owners should keep an eye on these two pitchers in case Torres does not get the job done.
Another pitcher who may see some time closing games is relief pitcher David Riske (elbow), who is currently on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury. It is not known if Riske will return before Gagne, but owners should keep track of his recovery. Nothing official has been said as to whether or not he will resume the closer duties upon his return.
From a fantasy perspective, Gagne has been one of the more disappointing closers for fantasy owners. It is not known how long Gagne will be out, so owners should consider putting him on the disabled list in deep mixed and NL-only formats. Owners in shallow leagues could think about getting rid of him, but his saves potential makes him a valuable player to have on your roster.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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