Geoff Baker and Larry Stone, of The Seattle Times, report the Seattle Mariners have placed closer J.J. Putz (elbow) on the disabled list Friday, June 13, with a hyperextended right elbow.
In a corresponding move, the team recalled pitcher Roy Corcoran from Triple-A Tacoma.
Along with his hyperextended elbow, Putz was diagnosed with inflammation of the triceps tendon and an irritated ulnar nerve. Initially, the team planned on holding Putz out of the weekend series and re-evaluate him Monday, June 16. However, the decision was based on the fact that Putz will need additional rest before returning to the closer role.
The good news here is that he does not appear to have any ligament damage in his elbow.
Putz finds himself on the disabled list for the second time this season, after he missed 18 games earlier this season when he suffered from costochondritis, or inflammation where cartilage attaches to a rib. He has a 5.21 ERA with 17 walks and three blown saves in 20 games. In 2007, Putz blew just two saves in 68 games. Putz's walk totals this year are also alarming. Through 20 games this season, he has walked 17 batters. In 2006 and '07, Putz allowed just 13 walks each season in 72 and 68 appearances, respectively. His disappointing start is a big reason why the team is 24-42 and in last place in the American League West.
With Putz injured, pitcher Brandon Morrow is expected to take over the team's closing duties. He notched his first career save Wednesday, June 11, when he replaced Putz. Morrow has one save and three holds with an ERA of 1.00 in 18 innings pitched this year. The team had considered moving the fifth overall draft pick in 2006 to the starting rotation but decided that the hard-throwing Morrow would be better serve as Putz's setup man. Accordingly, owners of Putz should immediately look to acquire Morrow off the waiver wire.
Corcoran has had experience closing games at the Triple-A level and could be used in save situations if Morrow is unable to pitch. He had a 1.69 ERA in eight relief appearances with the Mariners earlier this year. Despite these numbers, he only should be considered useful in AL-only formats.
Pitcher Miguel Batista might also be a candidate to pick up a few save chances after he was recently removed from the rotation. He only has one save this season, but he recorded 31 saves in 2005 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Fantasy owners should stash Putz in a DL or bench spot. His injury does not seem to be too serious, however, and it would be wise to closely monitor his progress.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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