Brian Fuentes taking over A’s ninth-inning role

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Another day, another new closer in MLB.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s manager Bob Melvin announced late Saturday night that veteran lefty Brian Fuentes will take over as the team’s new ninth-inning man.

Grant Balfour, who is sporting a 4.41 ERA and 11/6 K/BB ratio through 16 1/3 innings this season, has been demoted back to his old setup role.

“It’s where I feel most comfortable, and I believe I can get the job done,” Fuentes told reporters on Saturday after being informed of Melvin’s decision. “It’s good to know he has that confidence in me.”

The 36-year-old southpaw has posted a 3.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 12/2 K/BB ratio in 14 frames this year.

The Mets expect Tim Tebow to come back next year

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Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Newsday today that he expects minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to return for a third season in professional baseball.

Tebow, 31, broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, ending his season. It was a fairly successful season for him all things considered. After being promoted to Double-A Binghamton to start the year he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS in 298 plate appearances and made the Double-A All-Star team. That’s not the stuff of a top prospect — he strikes out far too much and the power numbers aren’t fantastic given that power would figure to be his strongest tool — but it’s pretty respectable for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience. As I said back in July, you can believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, but that does not preclude you from giving the guy a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Assuming he does come back, the Mets are likely to start him at Triple-A Syracuse in the hopes that he’d eventually get to the bigs as a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.