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There's a downside to having a closer who's older than Methuselah; aging pitchers tend to get injured. You knew the risks, Philadelphia.

Jose Contreras and his 39-year-old elbow landed on the 15-day DL Sunday. He wasn't available for the final three games of the San Diego series (a shame for him, Philly swept). Ryan Madson closed up Friday and Saturday, with Antonio Bastardo getting a one-outer on Sunday.

Madson will be the closer most of the time going forward; Phillies beat writer Jim Salisbury documents the appointment here. The move to Madson is a curious change of pace for the Phillies given that the organization couldn't stop bashing him this spring. The generic "closing isn't that difficult" tag applies; go get Madson anywhere you can. Brad Lidge(notes) isn't expected back for a couple of months, and we can't make any assumptions on Contreras's return.

Bastardo's 2011 stats grab your attention (0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 14 Ks over 9.1 IP), but he was a mess last season (4.34 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) and most teams would prefer to stay away from using a left-handed reliever in the closing chair. He's clearly the fallback position, though the strikeout upside has to be considered.


Image courtesy Associated Press

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