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The closer madness continues.As my friend and colleague Will Harris wrote yesterday, Chris Perez got a save for the Cardinals Wednesday with 1 2/3 innings of relief against the Dodgers. Since Jason Isringhausen and Ryan Franklin have been relatively disastrous of late, Will is right: Perez really is a threat for saves in St. Louis.
But a new candidate emerged yesterday, and he looks mighty familiar.
After angrily dismissing questions about whether Adam Wainwright might return from the DL as a reliever rather than a starter last month, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa acknowledged that the team is giving serious consideration to bringing Wainwright back to reprise the role he filled with such aplomb during the team's '06 World Series run. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the team accelerated the beginning of Wainwright's rehab stint while canceling his rotation appearance at Triple-A. Instead, he'll throw out of the bullpen tonight, and GM John Mozeliak said, "We moved him up since he's probably going to come back as a reliever."
Now, Mozeliak also said, "It's not set. There's a chance before he comes back that we have a solution and it's not a need. Then he'll come back as a starter. We want to be prepared. Right now, everything is on the table." But unless someone like Perez rattles off several consecutive saves over the weekend, it sounds like Wainwright is going to be the Cardinals closer.
I'm definitely in agreement with Will Harris: Perez should be owned in deeper leagues, on the chance that he reaches up and grabs the closer's job. But Wainwright is available in about 20 percent of ESPN.com leagues, and after pitching tonight and on Monday for Triple-A Memphis, there's a chance he'll get the call as the Cardinals' new/old fireman. If he's available in any of your leagues, grab him.
Joel Hanrahan, Nationals
After being held to just one save since the trade of erstwhile closer Jon Rauch to Arizona, Hanrahan was called on to save both ends of Thursday's doubleheader. He faced seven batters, striking out one and walking none.
Jeff Francis, Rockies
In his first start since coming off the DL, Francis allowed five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He gave up 8 hits, four of them for extra bases: A double, a triple and two home runs. On the plus side, he did not walk a batter while striking out three.
"The practical impact is that [Joba] Chamberlain, among the two or three most important members of the Yankees' pitching staff, is not available now -- he won't be for at least a couple of weeks -- and it's not certain whether he will pitch again this season."
-- Buster Olney Full Story
• The Yankees officially put Joba Chamberlain on the DL Thursday, and according to the New York Daily News are expected to call up Ian Kennedy to pitch tonight's game against the Angels. Dan Giese is pitching Saturday, and if Andy Pettitte can't go Sunday, Darrell Rasner could get another look.
• The Nationals put Elijah Dukes back on the DL Thursday, this time with a calf problem caused when he hit himself in the leg with his backswing. He'll be out at least four weeks. Willie Harris should get most of the team's starts in left field.
• The Rangers placed David Murphy on the DL with a sprained right knee which he suffered in a home-plate collision Wednesday with Ivan Rodriguez. Marlon Byrd and Brandon Boggs will pick up at-bats while Murphy is out.