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Closing Thoughts: 'I'm ready,' says Soria

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OK, you should know the drill by now. Every Monday we conduct a bullpen review and we leave you with a tasteful, highly collectible spreadsheet. Let's get to it...

Joakim Soria(notes) (shoulder) should be activated from the DL very soon. He just told the Kansas City Star, "Yeah, I'm ready." Juan Cruz(notes) has be a ratio-killer in recent days (9 H, 7 ER in last 4.0 IP) and he's about to yield ninth inning responsibilities, so it's no surprise that he's been mass-dropped (7369 times on Sunday).

Matt Lindstrom(notes) allowed a walk and two hits to the Mets in a non-save situation on Saturday. He inherited a 7-2 lead, yet he managed to create a save opportunity for Leo Nunez(notes). After an RBI-double left runners at second and third with two outs, Lindstrom was pulled for the right-handed Nunez, who promptly struck out Fernando Martinez(notes).

If manager Fredi Gonzalez is contemplating a change, he's smartly refusing to tip his hand. This from

Gonzalez said the team is being patient with Lindstrom, and that he will continue to get chances to save games. ... "The reason he came out of there [vs. NY] is we didn't want him to crank up 30 pitches. Next thing you know, it's 29-30 pitches, and he's not available tomorrow."

They add this nugget for the benefit of the fantasy community:

If the Marlins were to give another reliever a chance to close, Nunez would be the first option. Kiko Calero(notes) is another candidate.

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Brad Ziegler(notes) hasn't made a ninth inning appearance since May 24, and that was in a non-save situation against Arizona. It's tough to argue that he's a serious threat to close games right now, although Andrew Bailey(notes) hasn't exactly been lights-out. Bailey has two blown saves in his last four appearances, and he's given up at least one run in three of his last five. Still, we're calling him the closer and ignoring all other noise from Bob Geren. Bailey pitched 1.2 innings over the weekend, so it's possible that someone else could poach a save tonight at Chicago.

Randy Choate(notes) has picked up the last two saves for the Rays, thanks to lefty-vs.-lefty matchup situations. Tampa remains in full committee mode. Seven different pitchers have recorded at least one save for the Rays this season, and that group doesn't yet include Dan Wheeler(notes) or Jason Isringhausen(notes).

Wheeler is the only committee member I'm currently holding in mixed leagues. He hasn't allowed an earned run over his last nine appearances. Troy Percival(notes) isn't close to returning, but he's not quite ready to retire, either. Via the St. Petersburg Times:

"He's going to continue to work on trying to get the feeling back in his arm, right shoulder down through the bicep area to his elbow," [Joe] Maddon said. "We're just on hold."

Matt Capps(notes) returned from the elbow scare and earned a one-out save on Saturday. It wasn't the cleanest effort you'll ever see, but they all count:

Brad Lidge(notes) has successfully converted his last four save opportunities, and he's allowed only one hit and one walk in the process. "Even when I wasn't going good, I felt like this was going to happen," he told the Philadelphia Daily News.

Joel Hanrahan(notes) has pitched five straight scoreless innings and he hasn't blown a save all month. By the standards of the 2009 Nats, he's now in Drysdale/Gagne territory.

Rafael Betancourt(notes) (groin) is likely to hit the DL, just when he'd become useful again.

At last, it's time for the closing grid. For best results, vigorously swish 20 ml between teeth twice a day for 30 seconds, then spit.

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