Brad Ziegler

CraigKimbrel
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Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel to undergo knee surgery; out 3-6 weeks

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BOSTON — Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was already looking to shore up his beleaguered bullpen when closer Craig Kimbrel was hurt shagging flyballs.

Suddenly, Dombrowski had another big hole to fill.

And he did.

The Red Sox acquired Arizona closer Brad Ziegler early Saturday, hours after learning Kimbrel would likely be sidelined for three-to-six weeks with an injured left knee. He was hurt during BP before Friday’s win over Tampa Bay.

“I took a step for a groundball, heard a pop and didn’t really think it was anything serious,” Kimbrel said in the dugout about 75 minutes before Boston’s game against Tampa Bay.

Kimbrel is expected to have surgery Monday for a medial meniscus tear.

“It’s something we’ve been looking to do, try to add to our bullpen for an extended period,” Dombrowski said. “We went back and forth numerous times, then finally agreed to the deal, really right toward the end of (our) game, during the game.”

Kimbrel is 1-3 with a 3.55 ERA and 17 saves in 19 chances.

“I think that’s the one thing Dave has proven over the course of his career, the proactive-ness or recognizing what our current needs are and being able to anticipate what we’ll need when we go forward,” Boston manager John Farrell said before Boston’s game against the Rays.

Boston acquired Ziegler for two minor leaguers. The 36-year-old right-hander was 2-3 with a 2.82 ERA and 18 saves in 20 opportunities for the Diamondbacks.

Farrell said Ziegler would share the closing duties with 41-year-old right-hander Koji Uehara, who got the save Friday despite allowing a solo homer to Evan Longoria.

Farrell said the team spoke with Ziegler about 1:30 a.m. after Arizona’s game ended in San Francisco.

“We briefly discussed how things are going to shape up,” Farrell said.

Uehara is 2-3 with a 4.96 ERA and three saves. He’s struggled giving up eight homers in just 32 2/3 innings.

In 2012, then-Yankees closer Mariano Rivera tore a ligament in his right knee shagging balls in Kansas City.

Farrell said it was part of Kimbrel’s cardiovascular work.

“Pregame conditioning went fine. There was a change of direction during shagging BP, which is routine, normal,” he said. “This is anomaly. You can’t put guys in bubbles.”

Kimbrel said he won’t reconsider his routine because it was a fluke, and only on a grounder.

“If I was shagging flyballs, maybe,” he said. “I just took a step.”

The Red Sox already had set-up reliever Junichi Tazawa shut down for a few days with a sore shoulder. He’s hasn’t pitched since Sunday and Farrell said he’s unavailable Saturday. They already lost setup man Carson Smith for the season after he underwent elbow reconstructive surgery in late May.

Ziegler was available because the Diamondbacks are far of the NL West chase, 17 back of the Giants. Arizona is 10 behind the New York Mets for the NL’s second wild card.

Brad Ausmus says he’ll “probably” go with Alex Wilson as the Tigers’ closer

Alex Wilson
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Following the Joakim Soria trade with the Pirates, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus will “probably” use right-hander Alex Wilson as the closer, Chris Iott of MLive.com reports. Ausmus added he’d “maybe” use Blaine Hardy “if there are lefties”.

Wilson, 28, has had a terrific season, compiling a 1.79 ERA with a 33/8 K/BB ratio in 55 1/3 innings. He earned his first save on July 30 against the Orioles. He doesn’t have the swing-and-miss stuff that most closers have, but Brad Ziegler — who also doesn’t miss many bats — has been doing just fine with the Diamondbacks.

Hardy, 28, has a 2.54 ERA with a 38/16 K/BB ratio in 46 innings. He has a severe platoon split over his career, however, as right-handed hitters have posted a .710 OPS against him compared to the .517 of lefties.

Report: Padres asked Diamondbacks for Paul Goldschmidt in a Craig Kimbrel trade

Paul Goldschmidt
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Vince Marotta of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM reports that the Padres asked Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart for All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in return in a trade involving closer Craig Kimbrel. Needless to say, discussions didn’t get very far.

“I don’t know that it was not wanting to trade within the division, but I can tell you the quality of players that they asked for — including our first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt…”

Stewart couldn’t finish his sentence as he was interrupted by Gambo.

“They asked for Paul Goldschmidt,” Gambo asked.

“Now you get it,” Stewart responded while laughing.

Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

Goldschmidt, 27, is in the midst of an MVP-caliber season, batting .347/.464/.605 with 22 home runs, 77 RBI, and 17 stolen bases. He currently leads baseball in on-base percentage, and leads the National League in batting average, hits (124), and walks (82).

Beyond that, Goldschmidt is signed to a very team-friendly contract, as he signed a five-year, $32 million extension with the Diamondbacks in March of 2013. He’s earning $3 million this season and his salary escalates slightly each season through 2019. His elite production plus his contract make him one of the most valuable players in baseball in every sense of the word “valuable”.

The Diamondbacks also showed interest in Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, but didn’t end up pulling the trigger on any trade for a closer, so they’ll roll with Brad Ziegler in the ninth inning the rest of the way.