Padres closer Huston Street nearing return from DL

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At age 31 career minor leaguer Dale Thayer has done an excellent job as the Padres’ fill-in closer, saving five games with a 0.00 ERA and 10/0 K/BB ratio in 10 innings stepping into the ninth-inning role for Huston Street.

However, before going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury Street was also pitching very well with a 0.93 ERA and 13/2 K/BB ratio in 10 innings and he’s showing signs of returning to the closer role soon.

Steve Overbey of MLB.com reports that Street threw yesterday for the fifth straight day and is on track for a bullpen session early next week, at which point the Padres could schedule a brief minor-league rehab assignment.

Barring a setback returning by the end of next week might even possible and every indication is that Street will resume closing, pushing Thayer back into a setup role alongside Andrew Cashner and Luke Gregerson in what could be one of the league’s best bullpens.

Report: Nationals sign reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year deal

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Both a Kinsler and a Kintzler made headlines at the Winter Meetings. After the Angels acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Nationals have inked reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Kintzler, 33, spent the latter half of his 2017 campaign with the Nationals after the Twins traded him. Between both clubs, he put up an aggregate 3.03 ERA with 29 saves and a 39/16 K/BB ratio in 71 1/3 innings.

Sean Doolittle will handle save situations for the Nationals. Kintzler and Ryan Madson will bridge the gap to him in the seventh and eighth innings.