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LAND -- Brian Fuentes, a former All-Star closer who had 200 saves on his resume, is officially a closer again. And make that 201 saves.
A's Manager Bob Melvin told Fuentes last week that he was making him the closer, but it wasn't until after Fuentes recorded his second save of the season in Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Tigers that Melvin made it public.
"We're closing with Fuentes now," Melvin said. "That's the position we're in."
The A's had started the season with Grant Balfour, a longtime successful setup man, as the closer. But Balfour struggled in the role. After giving up one run in his first 10 games, he had an 11.81 ERA and two blown saves in his next seven games.
When Fuentes closed the A's game on May 2 in Boston, Melvin said it was just a one-time thing. But Melvin privately told Fuentes that he was the closer.
"It's were I feel most comfortable," Fuentes said. "I believe I can get the job done. It good that he has the confidence in me."
Fuentes said he was not happy to start the season in a setup role, but he understood.
"It was tough, but I understand the dynamics of the bullpen," Fuentes said. "You are going to go with the guy who is throwing the best, who is best suited for the job at the time, and at the beginning of the season that wasn't me."