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Scrambling For Putz's Replacement

FRIDAY: John Hickey says Lowe should get the bulk of the save opps.

WEDNESDAY: Elite closer J.J. Putz is out for at least a couple of weeks with a ribcage issue.  Three or four weeks would not be a shock.  Three weeks would be more than 10% of the season, so it's a big deal.

Putz owners as well as save opportunists are already scrambling for his replacement.  In fact, they began scrambling five hours ago when the news broke.

John McLaren spoke of a closer by committee situation for now, with an inclination to ride the hot hand if someone emerges.  Miguel Batista picked up the save tonight, but it was his throw day anyway so he could still make his scheduled rotation turn Saturday against Baltimore.  I believe he will, absent further info.  I don't see why they'd pull Batista from the rotation when he has nothing on Lowe aside from experience (which came in '05, when he blew eight saves).

Mark Lowe couldn't go tonight since he pitched Monday and Tuesday.  But he's bringing mid-90s heat and fits the classic closer mold.  He's extremely risky due to past elbow surgery and scant MLB experience.  But if I had to pick one I'd take Lowe over Batista.  Eric O'Flaherty might slip in for a few opps when the opposing team has mostly lefty hitters due up.  I don't see Sean Green getting in on the action unless other options fail.

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