Brewers to use closer-by-committee approach

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Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was hoping for some stability when he removed John Axford from the closer role early last week, but he hasn’t had any such luck. Francisco Rodriguez blew two save chances against the Phillies this week while allowing six runs on five hits and three walks over just 1 1/3 innings, so the Brewers are going back to the drawing board.

According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Roenicke plans to use a closer-by-committee approach for the time being.

“We’re going to go with whatever we see in the game and who fits that slot,” said Roenicke. “Unfortunately, it’s come to that. I’d rather have a set bullpen. But we’re going to match up and see how we do that way.”

As for who may get the ball in a save situation, Roenicke told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that everyone is under consideration, including veteran right-hander Livan Hernandez. Livo, who is in his 17th season in the big leagues, notched his first career save back on May 5 as a member of the Braves.

While seeing a crafty junkballer like Hernandez try to lock down some save chances would be pretty entertaining — and likely terrifying for Brewers fans — it might not be long before Axford gets his old gig back. He has tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings since being removed from the closer role, including three strikeouts over two shutout frames in the Brewers’ extra-inning loss to the Phillies yesterday.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.