In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for an entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.
Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which relievers are climbing the depth chart? Are any injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.
There's no timetable for the return of Bobby Jenks (forearm) to the Chicago White Sox. His role looks like it's unofficially being filled by Chris Sale, who notched his second career save Friday (one scoreless inning, one hit allowed). Manager Ozzie Guillen won't commit to the rookie lefty as the full-time operator but has gone to the youngster in pressure situations so far.
Guillen is willing to ride Sale as long as he's performing, but with potential concerns about Sale's use, Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz could be mixed in for as long as Jenks is out. Ozzie's newest direction, though, puts Sale atop the non-Jenks depth chart. Pick up the rookie as long as you can drop something without value.
- Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde (elbow) was unavailable this past weekend, but thanks to Detroit's Monday off-day, he should be ready to go Tuesday. If not, expect Ryan Perry or Phil Coke to stand in - based on matchups - if a save is needed.
- Fernando Rodney blew the save Friday night - his second in as many chances at that point - for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, allowing two runs on three hits in an inning. His Saturday and Sunday appearances, though, went for scoreless saves. Since the trade of Brian Fuentes to the Minnesota Twins, Rodney has a 6.48 ERA in 8 1/3 innings, despite accumulating four saves in that time.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Rodney hasn't been keeping hitters off-balance, but don't expect Rodney to lose the job for the rest of the year. "I don't see [his current stretch as closer] as an audition," Scioscia said. "It's something he's done before. ... I think we have a lot of confidence in what he can do late in the game."
Koji Uehara has received the Baltimore Orioles' last 10 save opportunities, converting nine of them. Having closed the door Friday and Saturday, Uehara was given Sunday afternoon off but wasn't needed. He has pitched on six of the last eight days.
In sight? Jenks still sidelined
The O's are monitoring Uehara's use to make sure he's physically OK - and to see how responds to the workload as they consider re-signing the impending free agent. Though Uehara said he feels fine, he looked a little sluggish even as he worked a perfect inning Friday. Either way, his recent stretch bodes well for his 2011 stock unless Baltimore decides to bring Mike Gonzalez back into save situations.
- Mariano Rivera hit a batter to walk in the winning run during his blown save Saturday. The New York Yankees reliever threw two innings but only 23 pitches on Friday, so manager Joe Girardi felt it was OK to go with him the next day. Either way, Rivera didn't look sharp Saturday, but he refused to blame his workload.
For now, just a bump in the road, despite his September WHIP getting up to 1.31. His ERA jumped all the way to 1.36 because he gave up two runs on two hits and two walks.
Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL
Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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