Let’s take a spin through the closers circuit and see what guys are on the move up and which are trending down. We’ve also got the latest news on injuries, rehab appearances and a couple minor league prospects worth keeping an eye on.

It’s all closers, all the time that’s why we call it, closing time!


Huston Street threw 20 pitches in the Rockies bullpen on Tuesday and reported no pain in either his elbow or sore groin.

Street will throw two more bullpen sessions before heading off again on a brief rehab assignment. If all goes well, he will rejoin the Rockies sometime in mid-June.

Brad Lidge also threw a successful bullpen session on Tuesday. He has yet to mix in anything but fastballs but is expected to do so on Thursday. If all goes well, Lidge will go on a weekend minor league rehab and could return by the end of next week.

It should be noted that he is not likely to regain the closer duties in Philadelphia at least for awhile as Jose Contreras has locked down the job for the near future. Lidge will have to prove that he can stay healthy and be effective in a setup type role before being considered once again to close out ballgames.

Original Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez is throwing in extended spring training games and reporting no pain in his balky left shoulder.

The O’s plan on bringing him along slowly however and don’t expect him back until at least the end of June. He will be going out on a minor league rehab assignment of his own in a couple weeks, so keep track of his progress. At this point the only closer candidate worth considering in Baltimore when he is healthy.


Future Closer Of The Week

Chris Smith – Nashville Sounds (Brewers) – RHP – It can’t be long before the Brewers call Smith up to aid their struggling bullpen. Although his stuff isn’t overpowering, he commands the strikezone well especially with his off-speed pitches.

Smith’s best pitch is probably his hammer-like power curve that he can locate down in the zone or get swings and misses down in the dirt.

Smith is leading the PCL in saves with 15 to go along with 24 K’s in 17.2 innings. He is bound to be recalled soon and if Trevor Hoffman cannot get it back together, he could be in line to see some save opportunities down the road.

The Studs

1) Mariano Rivera – Yankees

2) Jonathen Papelbon – Red Sox

3) Jonathen Broxton – Dodgers

4) Joakim Soria – Royals

5) Carlos Marmol – Cubs


Must Have

6) Francisco Rodriguez – Mets        

7) Heath Bell – Padres

8) Brian Wilson – Giants

9) Rafael Soriano – Rays

10) Andrew Bailey – Athletics

11) Jon Rausch – Twins

12) Francisco Cordero – Reds



13) Neftali Feliz — Rangers

14) Matt Capps – Nationals

15) Jose Valverde – Tigers

16) Ryan Franklin – Cardinals

17) Billy Wagner – Braves

18) Leo Nunez – Marlins

19) Octavio Dotel – Pirates


On Thin Ice

20) David Aardsma – Mariners

21) Bobby Jenks – White Sox

22) Brian Fuentes – Angels

23) Jose Contreras – Phillies

24) Matt Lindstrom – Astros

25) Kevin Gregg – Blue Jays

26) Chad Qualls – Diamondbacks

27) Manny Corpas – Rockies


Keeping A Seat Warm

28) Carlos Villanueva — Brewers

29) Kerry Wood — Indians

Not Worth Owning

30) Will Ohman/Alfredo Simon — Orioles


On The Horizon (Minor Leaguers)

1) Ernesto Frieri – Portland Beavers (San Diego)

2) Jay Sborz – Toledo Mudhens (Detroit)

3) Craig Kimbrel – Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta)

4) Chris Smith – Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee)

5) Scott Mathieson – Lehigh Valley Ironpigs (Philadelphia)



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