Aaron Heilman replaces Chad Qualls as Diamondbacks closer

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A.J. Hinch finally stripped Chad Qualls of closer duties yesterday, saying that Aaron Heilman will now get most of the save chances. However, the manager added that he may still use Heilman some in the seventh and eighth innings, so the closer-by-committee could come into play.
Hinch showed amazing patience with Qualls, letting him blow four saves and allow 26 runs in 22.1 innings before finally pulling the plug with the Diamondbacks double-digit games back in the NL West. Heilman has just 10 career saves, but he’s a longtime setup man with a 3.58 ERA in 418 innings as a reliever, including a 2.83 ERA and 23/9 K/BB ratio in 28.2 innings this season.
Heilman is capable of doing a decent job with ninth-inning duties, but if he fares particularly well the Diamondbacks may look at trade him along with just about everyone else on the roster and that would almost surely push him back into a setup role with his new team.

Madison Bumgarner diagnosed with fractured left hand

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Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner sustained a displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand on Friday. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, a procedure that could require a four- to six-week recovery period before he’s cleared to throw again. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bumgarner’s total recovery time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. In a best-case scenario, the lefty said he should be able to pitch again before the All-Star break, but given the amount of time and care it’ll take for him to shoulder a full workload, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do so.

Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.

The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. Without him, the Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.

This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”