Pittsburgh Pirates CL Matt Capps hits the DL

by Fraser Lovat on July 2, 2008 @ 14:54:02 PDT


Rob Biertempfel, of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, reports Pittsburgh Pirates closer Matt Capps (shoulder) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, July 2, and will miss at least eight weeks with a right shoulder injury. Capps returned to Pittsburgh Wednesday to have a magnetic resonance angiography, which revealed bursitis and internal rotation deficit in his shoulder and it seems the muscles in his shoulder are not allowing him to fully extend when he throws. Capps will not require surgery but will spend four weeks in a rehab program and another four weeks in a return-to-pitch program. He is expected to return to the team in early September. Manager John Russell said relief pitcher Tyler Yates, pitcher Romulo Sanchez, relief pitcher Damaso Marte and relief pitcher John Grabow would be in the mix to close games while Capps is out.

Capps finds himself on the big league disabled list for the first time in his career, but it may be at the right time. The right-hander converted his first 15 save opportunities before blowing a save chance June 10, which seemed to have started a bad trend for the closer. He has blown five of his last seven chances, including two consecutive blown saves against the Cincinnati Reds Monday, June 30, and Tuesday, July 1.

Capps' shoulder injury likely contributed to his recent poor outings. Prior to landing on the DL, he had converted 17 of 22 save opportunities. The Georgia native was also sporting a 2-3 record with a 3.12 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 29 strikeouts compared to only five walks in 40 1/3 innings pitched.

The Sports Network reports the Pirates will address the closer role on a day-to-day basis, with Yates and Marte as the two most logical closers.

Yates is 3-1 with a 3.76 ERA, a 1.55 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings this season but has converted none of his three save opportunities. However, two of those blown chances came in the eighth inning, and one came in the seventh. Yates, 30, was once thought to be a future closer, but he has not demonstrated that ability yet.

Marte has 32 saves in his career but only has one, which came this season, since joining the Pirates in 2006 and has blown his last two save opportunities, both in the eighth inning. The left-handed hurler is sporting a 4-0 record, a 3.54 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP with 44 K's and only 11 walks in 40 2/3 innings.

Sanchez recorded his first career save July 1 in his first appearance of the season in a 6-5 win against the Reds. The 24-year-old has only 19 innings of major league work under his belt, 18 of which came last year. He has recorded 10 saves in the minors, but they came from 2006 to present, and he doesn't strike out many batters.

Grabow has blown two saves this season, with his most recent blown save coming in a seventh-inning relief appearance against the Baltimore Orioles June 14. He is 4-2 with 3.54 ERA, including 31 strikeouts and 16 walks in 40 2/3 innings pitched this season.

If you're a fantasy player who has Capps on your team, be sure to stash him on your bench or in a DL spot. It's probably best to avoid this situation if possible. However, if you're desperate for saves, Marte makes the best addition because he is least likely to hurt your ratios, most likely to improve your strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate and is the most proven option Pittsburgh has. The Pirates will likely play matchups and base decisions on who's available, though. Marte and Grabow are southpaws; Yates and Sanchez are right-handers.

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About Fraser Lovat

Fraser is a Hot off the Wire Analyst with KFFL and has been with the company since 2007.

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