Closing Thoughts: Frasor opens with walk-off blown save

If you have Jason Frasor(notes) in the first-closer-to-lose-his-job pool, then things are looking good.

The right-hander entered the season with minimal job security, as manager Cito Gaston only recently – and almost reluctantly – awarded him the ninth. Frasor then took the loss in Toronto's opener, allowing four hits, two earned runs and an intentional walk to the Rangers. He retired just one batter and gave up a bases-loaded, no-doubt game-ending hit to Jarrod Saltalamacchia(notes). Video here.

Not an encouraging performance to say the least. Scott Downs(notes) worked a clean eighth inning before Frasor folded in the ninth. No one's going to lose a job based on one-third of an inning on opening day against an excellent opposing lineup, but Frasor obviously did nothing to inspire confidence (or boost his trade value). He seems to have the right perspective on the loss, however. This from the Toronto Star:

With the Jays off until Wednesday night, Frasor faces a tedious wait for his next opportunity.

“Unfortunately, I have 48 hours to think about it,” said Frasor, who saved 11 games as the team’s part-time closer last year. “I’m six years older than I was when I first started blowing games, so it’s a little easier.”

In the closing grid below, you'll find the usual suspects lurking behind Frasor in the Jays' bullpen. If Kevin Gregg(notes) is Plan B, then Plan A had better [expletive] work.

(Important note: The "Interim/Threat" column has been simplified, because it was confusing several commenters – and it seemed to actually offend at least one Chris Perez(notes) owner. Broken players can now be found on the far right. The "Closer" column is reserved for anyone who would get a save chance today).

Brad Lidge's(notes) fantasy trade value might be peaking right now, while he's on the disabled list. As most of you know, he entered the spring with knee and elbow issues; somewhere along the line he picked up a second elbow problem. Last week, Lidge received a cortisone injection to treat this new concern. This from

Lidge had surgery on the inner half of his elbow in November. The Phils said Lidge's recent inflammation is on the outer half of the elbow, which they said is unrelated to the surgery. But cortisone injections are not routine, and Lidge's health has been an issue for nearly a year.

Lidge's velocity has been dreadful this spring, at least by his standards. He could return by mid to late-April, but you can't reasonably expect the 2008 version of Lidge. For now, Ryan Madson(notes) has the ninth in Philly.

Huston Street(notes) visited Dr. James Andrews in Alabama on Monday, but according to the Rockies, he received relatively good news. Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd had this to say to the Denver Post:

"Everything looked great. I was told they didn't see any issues at all, so we are going to keep doing the same thing with him," O'Dowd said after the Rockies' 5-3 opening day win over Milwaukee. "[Street] wanted a second opinion and everything came back really good."

There's no clear timetable here, but you shouldn't expect Street to help anyone in April. Franklin Morales(notes) earned an opening day save, but it wasn't exactly a work of art (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 WP, 0 K). Two of the outs recorded by Morales were ropes that happened to be caught by infielders. Video here.

Jonathan Broxton's(notes) velocity has been a small concern, as the Dodgers' closer was working in the 91-95 mph range late in spring training. He of course normally sits in the 97-101 range. But he had this to say to Ken Gurnick:

"You've got to build your arm strength," [Broxton] said. "The first month and a half, you build. I was talking to [Eric] Gagne about that this spring, getting by early with 90 percent. You can't come out and be 100 percent in April, or by July and August you won't have anything left in the tank. Peak too soon and you go down early. When the bats start speeding up, the arm gets quicker and the adrenaline kicks in."

No immediate reason to worry here. "Nothing is hurting or sore," added Broxton.

If you're a Dodgers fan, you should be more concerned about the fact that Vicente Padilla(notes), Ramon Ortiz(notes), Jeff Weaver(notes) and Russ Ortiz(notes) are somehow all members of your pitching staff, and it's not 2002.

Houston middle reliever Sammy Gervacio(notes) had a dominant spring (13.0 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 16 Ks), and he pitched another useful inning in the regular season opener. The righty struck out two of the three hitters he faced, throwing nine of 11 pitches for strikes. Even if he never sneaks into the closer discussion, he looks like a terrific RP option for roto owners in leagues with innings caps. In such formats, K/9 is the big concern; you can't waste innings on pitchers with low K-rates.

JJ Putz(notes) inspired some confidence on Monday, striking out two batters in an inning of work against Cleveland. But we should note that Mark Grudzielanek(notes) and Lou Marson(notes) provided the Ks, and Putz was still throwing with last year's velocity (low-90s).


Photo via Getty Images

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