Hinch gives Gregerson break from closing

Plan is to go by committee; Harris secures save Sunday

June 6th, 2016

HOUSTON -- Luke Gregerson's status as closer is up in the air. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told Gregerson before Sunday's 5-2 win over the Athletics that he would not close, a day after he blew a save -- his second consecutive blown save and fifth of the season.

Will Harris came into the game in the ninth on Sunday and retired the side in order for his first save of the season.

"I told Luke before the game that he wasn't going to close today," Hinch said. "He was available. He felt fine, but I wanted to give him a mental and physical break from the role.

"I'm not going to name a closer. Luke's going to get his fair share of options. Obviously, Will was the closer today. [Ken] Giles will get a look, [Michael] Feliz may get a look whenever we need it.

"But for the time being, I'm going to ease that burden off Luke, given that he's had a bit of a rough couple of weeks. We need to get him right because our best bullpen has a variety of roles that these guys can pitch in."

On Saturday, Gregerson allowed a game-tying home run to Jed Lowrie in the ninth inning.

Giles, who did not pitch Sunday, pitched two scoreless innings in Saturday's 12-inning win over the A's. He's been scoreless in 11 of his last 13 games.

Harris extended his scoreless-innings streak to 25 1/3 innings over 25 games, the third-longest for a reliever in Astros history.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB) 

Across 16 appearances since May 5, Gregerson has logged a 6.75 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP and has blown five saves in 12 opportunities. While the right-hander has not been repeatedly burned by homers or walks over that stretch of 14 2/3 innings, he has still lost Hinch's trust. But Gregerson should not be dropped in most mixed leagues despite his recent struggles, as he could regain sole possession of the ninth-inning gig by posting a string of scoreless outings.

Having successfully converted a save chance on Sunday, Harris -- who owns an impressive 1.47 ERA and 0.85 WHIP since the outset of 2015 -- is likely in line for additional opportunities. Hinch may also offer save chances to Spring Training closer candidate Giles, who was likely unavailable Sunday after throwing two innings on Saturday. The hard-throwing reliever has recovered from a slow start to the season by posting a 2.13 ERA and an 11.4 K/9 rate across 12 2/3 innings since May 9. Owners with roster space in 12-mixed leagues would be wise to pick up both Harris and Giles for the coming week.