During the regular season, the Closer Hot Seat will be your go-to guide for Major League Baseball's bullpen chatter. During spring training, KFFL's Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Session will get you tuned up for the fantasy baseball saves chase. Camp happenings don't always impact closer battles, but if there's MLB news you should know for your fantasy baseball draft, you'll find it here.
Matt Lindstrom, once a promising closer candidate, was traded to the Baltimore Orioles from the Colorado Rockies this offseason. He has sacrificed K/9 over the past few years to harness control and make the most of his grounder inducement. Will the 32-year-old's new slider grip finally bring his skills together the way many dreamed of years ago?
Will Pestano get shot at saves?
Last year he minimized the use of a looping curveball that was easier to pick up in contrast with his high-90s four-seam and sinking fastballs, which often have too straight a path to the plate. Per Lindstrom, his slider modification came from Luis Ayala via cutter master Mariano Rivera when both were New York Yankees. Ideally, this reconstruction would more effectively disguise his slide piece.
He's still behind Jim Johnson in the O's saves race, but if this change translates when it matters, Lindstrom will offer helpful AL-only reliever stats, with potential for occasional mixed utility and at least a handful of closures.
- Quick check-in: Ryan Madson (elbow soreness) played catch Wednesday without pain. Unless he suffers a serious setback, he should post enough innings to join the Cincinnati Reds in time for opening day.
- Chris Perez (oblique strain) is aiming for that timetable, as well. He also let loose some rawhide Wednesday. Perez covered 75 feet in his tosses and, after a day off Thursday, will increase the distance before returning to a mound. Vinnie Pestano waits in the wings if Perez won't be ready for the Cleveland Indians' first 2012 contest.
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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