Elsa/Getty Images

Joaquin Benoit dethrones Jeanmar Gomez as Phillies’ closer

5 Comments

Jeanmar Gomez‘s struggles continued on Sunday against the Nationals, serving up a game-tying three-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman. After the game, which the Phillies won, manager Pete Mackanin said he was considering taking Gomez out of the closer’s role, but would have a conversation with him on Monday.

After that conversation, Gomez is officially out and Joaquin Benoit is in, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports.

Benoit, 39, has pitched three scoreless innings on a hit and a walk with four strikeouts to open the season. He has closing experience, racking up 51 career saves including 24 in 2013 with the Tigers and 11 in 2014 with the Padres.

The Phillies were also considering 27-year-old Hector Neris along with Benoit, but he will be eligible for arbitration between 2019-21. Since save totals are taken into consideration by arbitrators, the team was likely trying to depress his future earnings by keeping him out of the closer’s role.

Steve Delabar among three suspended after testing positive

Leon Halip/Getty Image
Leave a comment

Three players were suspended on Monday after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. They are: Indians pitcher Steve Delabar, Mariners pitcher Jonathan Aro, and free agent pitcher Jeffry Hernandez. Aro got a 50-game suspension while the other two were handed 80-game suspensions.

Delabar, 33, hasn’t pitched yet this season after signing a minor league deal with the Indians back in January. He spent last year with the Reds as well as the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League. The right-hander has struggled over the last few seasons.

Aro, 26, also hasn’t appeared yet this season in the minors. He’s worked mostly in relief. The right-hander appeared briefly in the majors with the Mariners last season and logged 10 1/3 innings in the show with the Red Sox in 2015. Aro went to the Mariners along with Wade Miley in the trade that brought the Red Sox Carson Smith and Roenis Elias.

Hernandez, 22, is a free agent and his suspension will be effective if and when he signs with a new team.

Phillies place Aaron Nola on the disabled list

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Phillies announced on Monday that starter Aaron Nola has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 21, with a lower back strain.

Nola, 23, compiled a 4.50 ERA with a 15/6 K/BB ratio over his first three starts spanning 16 innings. He felt some back soreness during his last start on Thursday against the Mets, and it lingered when he had a side session on Sunday.

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury hears that the Phillies are likely to call up Nick Pivetta from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Nola’s place in the rotation. Nola was scheduled to start on Wednesday.

Pivetta, 24, was acquired from the Nationals in the Jonathan Papelbon trade in July 2015. At Triple-A so far, Pivetta has given up only two earned runs on 12 hits and two walks with 24 strikeouts in 19 innings.