Updated: August 31, 2008, 3:20 PM ET

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Rob Grabowski/US Presswire

Kevin Gregg is fourth in the NL with 29 saves but has allowed eight runs in his past two outings.

Another closer gets shut down
With due respect to Queen, the theme song for closers lately would be "Another One Bites the Dust."

The Marlins shut down Kevin Gregg after his struggles with inflammation in his left knee this past month. He gave up a grand slam Friday that resulted in his major league-leading ninth blown save of the season.

The loss of Gregg from the ranks of ninth-inning stoppers means that nearly half the closers who held the job on Opening Day are no longer racking up saves for their respective ballclub, and that's a pretty large attrition rate. It's one of the reasons we advocate not spending high draft picks or a lot of auction dollars on closers on draft day, as it may not always be the most-optimal use of your resources. You're putting a lot of eggs in the basket of a volatile commodity.

Gregg was not placed on the disabled list because of the upcoming roster expansion. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said that he would mix and match Joe Nelson and Matt Lindstrom in the closer's role, and that Nelson might earn the first shot.

Gregg will not throw for a few days, then will test things out in some bullpen sessions before being eased back into nonpressure situations. He had been fairly solid for the most part, closing 42 of his first 47 save chances since assuming the job last year before becoming a streaky, hit-or-miss guy in July. After blowing two games early in that month, he converted 11 saves in 16 games with a 0.60 ERA. Since then, though, he's allowed 12 runs in his past seven games as his knee has gotten worse. It's possible he'll gain his role back by the end of the year, but it's not a smart bet.

Past editions: 8/30: Stairs to Philly | 8/29: Beckett hurtin' | 8/28: Oswalt hot

Box Score Bits

Jose Guillen departed Saturday's game after rolling his left ankle. He should be expected to miss a few games at minimum. … Billy Butler hit two jacks and is batting .313 since the break, with seven of his nine homers this season coming in that time. … Manny Ramirez went 4-for-5 with two homers to follow up a big Friday night. Since joining the Dodgers, Ramirez has had nine hits in a row at one point and is hitting .419 with nine homers in 28 games. … Dan Haren allowed five runs on 10 hits in six innings and was actually too much around the zone all night. He threw a ton of strikes, but probably would have been better had he been a little more "effectively wild." … Josh Hamilton left in the fifth inning because of lingering pain from a Wednesday root canal. He was likely to get the day off Sunday anyway, even before this flared up. … Rocco Baldelli reached base five times -- twice when he was hit by pitches -- and had the game-winning hit for the Rays. He's slugging .529 since returning to the lineup. … The often-underrated-in-fantasy Dustin Pedroia batted cleanup as Kevin Youkilis was sidelined by illness. He rapped out four hits for the second straight night and has reached base in his past 10 plate appearances. His efforts with the bat helped make a winner of heralded rookie Michael Bowden in his first big league start. Bowden allowed two runs in five innings but is best stashed away in keeper leagues at the moment, as Josh Beckett is expected to return to the rotation Friday. … Randy Winn had two homers, a nice bonus from a player whose 25 steals and better-than-.300 batting average make him just fine for his owners. … Francisco Liriano allowed one run and struck out six in seven innings and has a 1.23 ERA in his six starts since returning to the big leagues. … Ubaldo Jimenez was cruising through three innings before his control abandoned him once again in the fourth, when he walked four batters, gave up two hits and couldn't get out of the inning. We thought he might have broken through earlier this season, but his old inconsistency is rearing is ugly head again. … Nick Markakis had four hits, including his 18th homer of the season, to raise his average to .307. … Jayson Werth went yard twice. If there's a quieter 20-homer, 13-steal season, I haven't seen it. He's owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues. … Anthony Reyes allowed one run in seven innings and has a 2.01 ERA in five starts since joining the Tribe. … Mike Cameron had two hits, a homer and four RBIs. He's red-hot, hitting .360 with nine homers and eight steals this month. … Albert Pujols had four hits and a homer and is batting .362. … Mike Pelfrey has a 2.82 ERA in his past 12 starts; he allowed two runs in six innings and struck out five. … Ramon Ramirez, filling in for Johnny Cueto, allowed three runs in seven innings in his big league debut, striking out six. It's unknown how many starts he will earn, but he showed promise in this one.


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Standing Out

Brett Myers, Phillies
Sure, he gave up 11 hits in seven innings, but Myers struck out eight and allowed just two runs to improve his record to 4-1 since his midseason demotion. He hasn't allowed more than three runs in his past eight starts.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
He killed a ninth-inning Yankees rally with a double play, his 11th of the month. A-Rod is also hitting just .242 this month with 29 strikeouts. (Both are his worst monthly numbers of the season.)
News and Notes

The Orioles' Melvin Mora expects to miss at least a week because of his strained hamstring. It's certainly a blow to his fantasy owners, who have been riding his ridiculously hot second half. He has hit .393 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs since the All-Star break. Aubrey Huff started at third Saturday. … Adam Jones expects to return to the Orioles' lineup after the weekend. … Jim Johnson should get save opportunities in Baltimore in the foreseeable future, as George Sherrill just started playing catch Saturday, and the team announced that rehabbing Chris Ray will not pitch in the big leagues this year. … A day after returning to the lineup, Victor Martinez sat out Saturday, and he may not play two days in a row in the short term. … Jody Gerut was out of the lineup for a second straight day because of a sprained finger. He is listed as day-to-day. … John Danks' next start has been pushed back to Tuesday, giving him an extra day of rest because he's been scuffling lately. … Joba Chamberlain threw 35 pitches in a simulated game and expects to return to the Yankees' bullpen early next week. … Evan Longoria will not return to the Rays' lineup until Friday at the earliest. … Carlos Guillen is dealing with an inflamed nerve in his back in addition to back spasms and likely will be out at least another week. Jeff Larish will continue to get most of the starts at third in the interim. … One day after acquiring Matt Stairs, the Phillies released Kris Benson, who was trying to recover from rotator-cuff surgery he'd underwent in 2007.
They Wrote It

"K-Rod is no longer the kid who blew the Giants away in the 2002 World Series, but he isn't a guy losing his edge, either. He's an interesting cat on the brink of a gaudy record, in line for a second ring and about to hit an enormous payday. In the end, he isn't someone you can sum up just yet."

-- Eric Neel Full story


• The Orioles sent pitcher Radhames Liz back down to Triple-A and called up infielder Oscar Salazar to help fill the absence while Melvin Mora heals, though Liz will be back up after rosters expand and is tentatively scheduled to start Tuesday. With Aubrey Huff shifting to third, it likely means continued playing time for Jay Payton when Adam Jones returns.

• The A's put Frank Thomas on the disabled list after he strained his right quad again. His season likely is over, and the team called up outfielder Aaron Cunningham, a tweener outfield prospect. The A's also made room for Keith Foulke's return from the DL by sending Dan Meyer to Triple-A after his failed stint in the rotation.

Yorvit Torrealba has a torn ligament in his left knee and wound up on the disabled list after being unable to play through it any longer. Adam Melhuse was recalled from Triple-A to back up Chris Iannetta.

On the Farm

Travis Hafner went 1-for-3 in the sixth game of his rehab assignment at Triple-A and is batting .316. Hafner will remain with Buffalo until its season wraps up on Monday before joining the Indians on Tuesday, when he may have to share some of his DH time with Victor Martinez.

• Gaby Hernandez, the intriguing pitching prospect the Mariners received when they dealt Arthur Rhodes to the Marlins, is not finding his change of scenery much better. He allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings Saturday, which dropped his ERA with his new club to just 5.01 in six starts.