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Rockies’ closer role up in the air without Greg Holland

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Rockies’ right-hander Greg Holland has been temporarily excused from the closer role, manager Bud Black told reporters Sunday. Holland was pulled from a save situation against the Braves on Saturday night after issuing three hits and two runs in the ninth inning. He recorded just one out before Black replaced him with Jake McGee, whose game-ending double play gave the Rockies a narrow 7-6 finish.

This isn’t the first time the Rockies have questioned Holland’s pitching mechanics. He’s had difficulty controlling his slider over his last several appearances, feeding into an ugly 15.12 ERA, 6.5 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 since the start of the month. While Black hasn’t officially removed the righty from the closer role, Holland will sit out during Sunday’s series finale to work on the pitch while the team “navigates” the ninth inning without him.

In the interim, the team still has several viable options in left-handers Jake McGee and Mike Dunn and right-hander Pat Neshek, and they’re expected to receive reinforcements when rosters expand next Friday. Neshek also appeared in Saturday’s win over the Braves, taking the win with a scoreless inning before handing the ball to Holland. Given the Rockies’ current second-place standing in the NL wild card race, the pressure to figure things out quickly is running high.

Dbacks outfielder Steven Souza injured his right shoulder last night

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Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Steven Souza dove for a ball in a spring training game last night, missed, and ended up injuring his right shoulder.

It looked bad, too. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson stood over him, frantically waving to the dugout for a trainer as Souza kicked his legs in apparent pain. Souza held his arms awkwardly as he walked off the field. At the moment the Dbacks are calling it a right shoulder strain, but he’ll get an MRI on it today after which a more specific diagnosis will come.

If Souza is out for a while it’s a pretty big blow to Arizona’s 2018 plan. Souza was acquired to help cushion the blow of losing J.D. Martinez in free agency. While not the hitter Martinez is, Souza hit 30 homers in Tampa Bay last year, stood likely to at least match that in the more hitter-friendly confines of Chase Field and, of course, plays superior defense.

Potential replacements for Souza include moving David Peralta from left to right and inserting Yasmany Tomas in left or having fourth outfielder Dyson, or perhaps a platoon of Dyson and utilityman Chris Owings, handle right. Socrates Brito is another internal option.

Obviously the Snakes will wait to hear the results of the MRI before going too deeply into replacement plans, all the while hoping that Souza’s injury is far less serious than it appeared to be last night.