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Closers: Marlins, Mets

If you want to get me out of your head, you can follow the latest closer developments on Twitter at @closernews.

Marlins
For all the shakeups we saw early in the season, Miami's closer situation has been closely followed but otherwise fruitless for storm saves chasers. I've written about it countless times, and yet it's taken till mid-July for the sharks to see anything more than a few heaps of chum.

Ozzie Guillen announced during the All-Star break that he'd be going to a closer committee once the second half commenced. Sure enough, Steve Cishek saw the Marlins' first save opportunity thereupon, converting for the vaunted five-out save. It's worth noting that Heath Bell tossed a scoreless inning in his second-half debut on Sunday, entering the game with the Fish facing a four-run deficit.

It's a small sample size to draw any definitive conclusions, but the best we can infer for now is that Cishek is the first option. Of course, Guillen did say he'd be using a committee, so the newly activated Edward Mujica and LOOGY Randy Choate cannot yet be ruled out, nor can the demoted Bell, who lost his job similarly in May and quickly regained it.

But for now, Cishek is the better own, and those who scooped up Juan Carlos Oviedo last week in response to Guillen's excitement about his return can safely reconsider, as Oviedo's minor league rehab assignment has been put on hold due to right elbow discomfort. It doesn't sound promising, and though it may amount to little more than a false alarm, it will likely delay Oviedo's return and perhaps furnish a hopeful such as Cishek enough time to run with the job.

Mets
Bobby Parnell owners got good and bad news over the weekend. On an upbeat note,  Frank Francisco's minor league rehab stint was shut down before it ever even started, as he apparently hasn't healed sufficiently from his oblique injury. As we've noted before, that ailment has a history of giving fits to the afflicted. I'd have to guess this could set back Francisco's return another week or two, and that could be a conservative estimate.

Unfortunately, Parnell celebrated his presumptive ninth-inning extension with a blown save on Saturday, his first since taking over for Francisco as Mets closer. I don't think this incident alone will have much bearing on Parnell's standing as Mets closer. However, based based on his unsuccessful stint as stopper last season, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a relatively shorter leash if he begins to slump. I have no reason to think he will slump -- the peripherals all check out -- but it can only take a few bad outings before a guy is on the ropes.

The bottom line is, hold onto Parnell if you had designs on cutting him in anticipation of Francisco's return. Parnell should get another couple of weeks, although it's worth keeping an eye on his next outing, which could determine whether his seat starts to get a little hot.

Francisco owners are now in the tricky spot of guessing whether he'll reclaim the closer's role upon whenever he finally returns. My initial instinct was that he'd get the job back, but the longer he's out, the less likely that scenario becomes. For me, he'd fall into the hold-if-you-can-but-cut-if-you-must category.

Quickly
Blue Jays stopper Sergio Santos will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, meaning Casey Janssen's grip on the job -- already strong -- just got a wee bit tighter. Janssen should have every opportunity to get through the rest of the season as Toronto's closer, and based on the peripherals, he should be able to do it. Santos should be cut in all yearly leagues, and even those in keeper leagues may want to look elsewhere. ... Drew Storen, the Nationals' former closer, has seen his minor league rehab stint mucked up by arm fatigue. It doesn't sound major, but it appears that Storen's return to the Majors may be pushed back a week or so. Tyler Clippard has been lights-out there, but it'll be interesting to see how Washington handles Storen, a young player in whom they have invested a lot of resources since drafting him in the first round in 2009. ... The Twins will ease Matt Capps back into closing in his return from shoulder stiffness, meaning Glen Perkins and Jared Burton owners should sit tight till Capps has fully regained the job. ... Red Sox right-hander Andrew Bailey's on-again, off-again rehab from right thumb surgery is back on again, but he's still no fewer than a couple weeks off, barring setbacks.


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