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Barraclough embraces role as Marlins closer

'I just love the competition aspect of it,' righty says
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Kyle Barraclough doesn't believe the closer role is more important than any other on the field, but he knows there's definitely something unique to the position. Something he can't get anywhere else.

"I think that a closer is the position that guys want to be in," Barraclough said. "I think everybody wants the ball at the end of the game. Then obviously, it's an exciting part of the game as well. The game's close and you're getting those last outs to finish it and get your team the win."

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PHOENIX -- Kyle Barraclough doesn't believe the closer role is more important than any other on the field, but he knows there's definitely something unique to the position. Something he can't get anywhere else.

"I think that a closer is the position that guys want to be in," Barraclough said. "I think everybody wants the ball at the end of the game. Then obviously, it's an exciting part of the game as well. The game's close and you're getting those last outs to finish it and get your team the win."

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Manager Don Mattingly announced Thursday that Barraclough would take over as closer for Brad Ziegler. It signifies the achievement of a goal for Barraclough, whom the Marlins have been using in high-leverage situations for two years now.

Barraclough, 28, has two career saves, one in 2017 and one this season. In '18, he holds a 1.48 ERA over 24 1/3 innings.

The Marlins lost, 9-1, to the D-backs on Friday night. Barraclough didn't pitch, so he's still waiting to take the mound for his first appearance since he was named closer.

Mattingly said the biggest concern for the Marlins will be free passes. Barraclough, who has struggled with his command at times, has a career 5.5 walks per nine innings.

The truth is that this new role isn't the same as being the setup man. There is added pressure.

"He knows he doesn't get the safety net," Mattingly said. "He has to go walk the wire without the net. He's the last line."

Video: LAD@MIA: Barraclough induces forceout, call stands

Prior to Mattingly making the move, Ziegler had converted nine of 10 save opportunities this season. But he holds a 7.83 ERA over 23 innings. Moving forward, Mattingly said he'd utilize the right-handed Ziegler against righties.

Obviously, Mattingly didn't want to have to make a change in the first place. "It is something that you don't like to do, because if you make that change, it means you've been having late-inning troubles."

The Marlins have had their fair share of those. Miami had the second-worst save percentage in the National League entering Friday's series opener against the D-backs.

Now the young Marlins have a new man at the back end of the bullpen. And he relishes the opportunity at hand.

"It's a little more exciting knowing this is the last out of the game, or the last outs of the game," Barraclough said. "But I just love the competition aspect of it."

Wittgren to DL
The Marlins placed right-hander Nick Wittgren on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to June 1, with a right middle finger contusion. They recalled righty Tyler Cloyd from Triple-A New Orleans as a corresponding move.

In a recent appearance, Wittgren deflected the ball with his finger. He holds a 3.06 ERA over 17 2/3 innings pitched this season. He also hasn't allowed a homer.

"He wasn't comfortable. He came out early, got some treatment, went and tried to throw, still couldn't put any pressure [on it]," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said."The last thing we want with a guy that had elbow surgery last year is to then go changing things. I don't think he was comfortable, I don't think we were comfortable either."

Cloyd has allowed 16 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings with the Marlins this season. He holds a 6.55 ERA over 11 innings with Triple-A New Orleans.

Justin Toscano is a reporter for MLB.com.

Miami Marlins, Kyle Barraclough