Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel injures knee, out 3-6 weeks

Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel suffering a knee injury shagging fly balls in batting practice.

Kimbrel has a meniscus tear and was placed on the team's 15-day disabled list. The All-Star closer is expected to miss 3-6 weeks, and newly acquired RHP Brad Ziegler and RHP Koji Uehara will share the closer role until Kimbrel's return. With Craig Kimbrel holding down the closer role, Ziegler will replace setup man Koji Uehara in all likelihood, while providing a second option to close games when Kimbrel, now day-to-day with a knee injury. The Royals offer an even nastier combination of bad pitching and injuries, and might be the most desperate of the teams to make a move, but at some point could simply be giving up on going somewhere this season, now 7 games behind the Indians, 4th in the division. Junichi Tazawa, part time set up man and part time closer, has been inconsistent for this whole season and is now dealing with "a little bit of tiredness in his arm and shoulder, according to Dave Dombrowski, who's head of baseball operations for the Red Sox organization". He's a different-look guy for us. A strike-throwing, ground-ball inducing submarine pitcher, he recorded a career-high 30 saves last season.

Ziegler has never been a hard thrower, and at 36 years old, he isn't going to blow batters away consistently.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-3, 8.59) is expected to be recalled Friday and start the first of a three-game series against the Yankees in NY.

As it turns out, Ziegler, who has 81 career saves and converted 48 of 51 save chances for Arizona between taking over the closer role for the Diamondbacks in mid-May of previous year and Saturday morning's trade, still may not replace Kimbrel directly.

"We decided we could get some pretty good prospects for him", said Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart. The addition of Ziegler will help mitigate the loss, but Carson Smith's season-ending injury, combined with the struggles of Uehara and Tazawa, have left Boston's bullpen vulnerable.

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In the American League, injured Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel will be replaced by Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez.

For Boston, David Ortiz hit a home run. The Red Sox almost flipped the script on that scenario in the wee morning hours on Saturday.

Koji Uehara, a surprise closer, got the first two outs in the ninth before Evan Longoria ripped a home run - his 19th of the year and his fourth hit of the game.

The Red Sox called up right-handed reliever Noe Ramirez from Triple-A Pawtucket, activated utility man Michael Martinez, acquired Friday from the Cleveland Indians, and sent infielder Marco Hernandez back to Pawtucket. He started out with promising numbers, a 2.50 ERA in rookie ball in 2013, but that mark has consistently grown, up to a career worst 3.91 during his 2016 campaign.

SS Xander Bogaerts launched his 10th home run of the season on Saturday, a two-run shot in the fourth inning.

This season, Ziegler has pitched to a 2.82 ERA in 38-and-one-third innings while saving 18 games.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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