Grant Balfour, Ryan Cook, Brian Fuentes to split A’s closer job

A’s manager Bob Melvin said Saturday he is switching to a closer-by-committee approach after Brian Fuentes’ second ninth-inning meltdown the night before.  Fuentes, Grant Balfour and Ryan Cook will all split closer duties depending on their availability and individual matchups, according to Melvin. “I feel like we have three closers now,” he said. “We’ll do the best we can to match up.”

Balfour won the closer’s job in spring training but was demoted in mid-May after struggling. Fuentes took over and had success initially, but he has allowed walkoff three-run homers in two of his past four outings, and his three blown saves are tied for second-most in the American League.

Cook, a rookie right-hander who has been unscored upon in 23 of his 24 appearances, provides the most intriguing option because of his dominance in the setup role.

“He could end up pitching the ninth,” Melvin said, “but if the bases are loaded with two outs in the eighth, he might be (the best option).”   Melvin prefers having one clear-cut option in the ninth but said of his current closer situation: “At this point in time we’re having a bit of an issue.”

***Yoenis Cespedes said he was hopeful of being available to pinch-hit tonight. Melvin held out the same hope, but it was contingent on how Cespedes fared during batting practice. No matter how he feels hitting, running is probably an even bigger issue considering Cespedes is returning from a strained hamstring.

–It’s an identical starting lineup from Friday night for the A’s, and why not considering how they hit the ball? One player to keep an eye on — Coco Crisp. He’s 3 for 3 with a home run against Arizona starter Trevor Cahill. Only three other current A’s have faced Cahill — Brandon Inge is 2 for 6, Seth Smith is 1 for 3 with a homer and Josh Reddick is 1 for 3 with a double.

The lineups:

A’s — Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Reddick RF, Smith LF, Inge 3B, Moss 1B, Suzuki C, Pennington SS, Parker RHP.

D’backs — Parra CF, Bloomquist SS, Upton RF, Kubel LF, Goldschmidt 1B, Montero C, Hill 2B, Bell 3B, Cahill RHP.





Joe Stiglich

  • Stan

    Lew on the radio: Poor Lew,poor Billy,poor John,so poor they cant compete. Then they will sell -right? No ! they MAKE money off this team…
    Hostages that’s what the fans are.Hostages. And no hope for a A’s team anymore for another WS. Mr.Dolitch..buy the A’s and tear off those tarps!

  • Stan

    I just saw the Comcast special on Suzuki. I know I posted last year that no sooner then he signed a big contract and married a trophy blonde..that would explain his slump. And I had never seen or heard what kind of wife he married at the time.
    Now I do..a hot blond.-lol.

  • Stan

    Didn’t we have a all star reliever last year? OH-oh -oh,that’s right,The genius traded him away.

  • Stan

    As I recall, the Beane media said that closers were in effect, a dime a dozen..Beane could find another easy.
    Another fallacy.

  • marc

    Stan, you do realize that Bailey was traded for Reddick. Bailey has been hurt all year. That trade was a STEAL. So in this case, Beane really is a genius.

  • Stan

    And I have heard rumors the A’s are willing to trade Reddick and Suzuki. Any other team,that’s crazy talk. Its business as usual for the A’s.

  • Stan

    In the long run…Bailey will return..the A’s wont have a quality closer..and again,if Reddick is playing for a large contract..Beane will move him. Its a formula Mark that we’ve seen for near a decade.

  • Stan

    And Joe,why am I paying for a paper only to read contents I read the day before online for free?. I think I’m going to let my subscription run out. Besides, my new carrier doesn’t get the morning paper to the home before 8:30..what kind of delivery is that?
    The BANG is it’s own worst enemy.

  • Joe Stiglich

    Stan, I have no idea why your paper isn’t showing up until 8:30 a.m., but I would call our circulation department on that. It shouldn’t happen. … Not all of our content goes online right away. My stories on night games, for example, should be fresh by the time you open up your morning paper (at least that’s the goal!) …