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Banister: Versatile Claudio not official closer

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Claudio has pitched more innings since the second half began than any other Rangers reliever. He's finished four games in the process, picking up three saves and a win.

The recent uptick in high-leverage work for Claudio, however, is no reason to go labeling Claudio the "closer," manager Jeff Banister said. He holds the rest of his bullpen to an equal standard.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Claudio has pitched more innings since the second half began than any other Rangers reliever. He's finished four games in the process, picking up three saves and a win.

The recent uptick in high-leverage work for Claudio, however, is no reason to go labeling Claudio the "closer," manager Jeff Banister said. He holds the rest of his bullpen to an equal standard.

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"They're all closers. They close out the inning," Banister said. "Even the ones that get the 27th out for us."

Claudio is looking at closing as a "part-time" job right now, but said, "If they give me a chance to do it, I'll take it."

Part of the reason Banister won't pigeonhole Claudio into a closer role is because of how useful the side-arming lefty can be at multiple stages of a game.

"There is flexibility there with multiple innings, situational feel," Banister said. "He's durable enough. … He's also a guy that you can roll out in the sixth and go three [innings] with if you had to. … He's a relief pitcher. A pretty good one."

Claudio threw the final two innings in Texas' 10-inning win over the Rays on Friday and collected a four-out save on Saturday. He could even be available again Sunday because of how quickly his pitching style allows him to bounce back.

Fatigue doesn't matter as much to Claudio as spotting his pitches in the right place.

"Maybe I can feel a little tired because of the workload," he said. "But I know that if I can control my pitches, I still can get the outs."

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Rangers on Sunday.

Texas Rangers, Alex Claudio