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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.

Video: Jorge Soler launches first home run of spring training

Jorge Soler
Associated Press
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The Royals and Rangers played the first game of spring training today. A few other teams (the Red Sox, Tigers and Twins) played or are currently playing college squads, but Kansas City-Texas is our first matchup of big league teams. Baseball’s back, baby! And you know what baseball means?

Kansas City’s Jorge Soler, who hit 48 homers last year to lead the American League, offered us the year’s first glimpse at recreational baseball murder when he took Kolby Allard out over the left field yard.

Mmm. That’s the good stuff. Here’s to eight and a half months more of that. Bring me the dingers.

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