The Sports Network reports the Texas Rangers have placed closer Frank Francisco (biceps) on the 15-day disabled list with right biceps tendonitis. The move is retroactive May 7. He can return Friday, May 22.
Francisco has been held out since May 6 because of the injury. In 14 appearances, Francisco is 1-0 with nine saves and a 0.00 ERA in 14 2/3 innings. He has struck out 13 batters and walked only four. The right-hander is coming off a 2008 season in which he posted a 3-5 record, a 3.13 ERA and five saves.
Francisco has been one of the top fantasy closers early in the season. Owners should naturally put him on their bench or place him on the disabled list for the time being. Francisco threw a 15-minute bullpen the day of the move to the DL. He said he felt no pain; however, he also didn't feel particularly sharp.
He is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Monday, May 18.
He could be ready to come off the disabled list as soon as the 15 days are complete, but Texas has underestimated this injury already.
Relief pitcher C.J. Wilson should remain first in line for the opportunity to close games while Francisco is out. He has been a bit inconsistent so far. He is 2-2 with one save and a 4.11 ERA in 15 1/3 innings. He has struck out 10 hitters and walked nine. Wilson has experience as a closer, though; he recorded 24 saves last season. He has also made seven straight appearances without giving up an earned run, and he picked up a save Friday, May 15. If he's still available, he is likely the best short-term option.
Reliever Eddie Guardado could also be a factor, but he has struggled on the mound in the first month and a half. He is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 13 appearances. He has struck out four and walked three in eight innings. Guardado too has experience as a closer, but he's not worth picking up unless you're in a pretty deep AL-only league and desperate. His impact on your other numbers may not be worth the trouble.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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