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Jorge Sosa sent to bullpen: new Braves closer?

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Jorge Sosa sent to bullpen: new Braves closer?

Postby The Big Train » Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:17 am

ATLANTA -- When Jorge Sosa was moved into the starting rotation around this time last year, he found a role that allowed him to enjoy his finest big-league season. Now he's been asked to return to a relief role in the hopes that he'll be able to help the Braves' ailing bullpen.

Before Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays at Turner Field, Braves manager Bobby Cox said that Sosa will return to the bullpen and be used in the eighth or ninth inning. The veteran right-hander is capable of throwing multiple innings and will likely get a chance to prove himself as the team's closer.

"I' ve got a little bit of experience closing games down in the Dominican [Republic]," Sosa said with Braves third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez serving as his interpreter. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity. I was happy when they put me in the rotation last year, and I'm happy to go into the closer's role."

Since he started on Tuesday night and went six innings, Sosa likely won't be available in a relief role until Saturday or Sunday.

As he customarily does, Cox hasn't named Sosa his closer. The manager never officially handed the role to Ken Ray after Chris Reitsma lost the job about a month ago. But with Ray having shown some recent struggles, Sosa will get some chances to prove himself in the role.

"He's got [the] stuff to do anything," Cox said of Sosa, who is 1-9 with a 5.40 ERA after 14 appearances (13 starts) this season.

There was some thought about moving Sosa into the closer's role during the offseason. Given that he was 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 18 starts last year, they opted to keep him in the starting rotation.

But the Braves bullpen, which has posted a 7.20 ERA in the team's past 20 games, is in serious need of help and Sosa may prove to be the answer. He spent time in the Devil Rays' bullpen from 2002-04 and began last year in Atlanta's bullpen.

"My main thing is that I want the team to win some ballgames," Sosa said. "[I'll do] whatever [Cox] wants me to do."

With his lively arm, Sosa could prove to be a valuable closer in a bullpen that has blown 15 of 29 save opportunities. The better control that he's recently displayed gave the Braves more comfort about moving him into a relief role.

Since encountering some April struggles, he's managed to register a 2.6 strikeouts-to-walk ratio. Last year, that ratio was just 1.3.

Sosa has started much better than he's finished in many of his starts this season. He's allowed a first-inning run in just three of his 13 starts. During the opening inning, opponents are hitting just .234 against him.

"We need some help in the eighth and ninth innings," Cox said. "We'll keep our fingers crossed that Jorge can do it."
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Postby Snakes Gould » Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:55 am

wow definitely sounds like it! ill take a flier on sosa!
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Postby stevekahuda » Thu Jun 22, 2006 8:32 am

1-9 with a 5.40 ERA

Yeah, who wouldn't want that as their closer. I think Cox is going senile...
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Postby jake_twothousandfive » Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:04 am

stevekahuda wrote:1-9 with a 5.40 ERA

Yeah, who wouldn't want that as their closer. I think Cox is going senile...

i think that the move to RP will help sosa and he will start to turn it around...however, last year is the only year sosa was ever really that good and could very well have just been a breakout year...overall, i agree with stevekahuda with numbers like that sosa's going to have to show me that he has turned the corner before he gets a spot on my team
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Postby jh2031 » Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:31 am

I actually think he'll be more effective in this role. Has a great fastball that can top out at 98. He usually tires in a game around the 5 inning mark so if he only pitches 1 or 2 innings...he should be better suited for that. He just has to learn to keep his fastball down and not leave it in the happy zone.
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Postby checkers » Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:24 pm

per CBS

News: Ragged from overuse and stuffed with new arms untested at the major league level, the bullpen has been at the top of Braves manager Bobby Cox's to-do list for a while. Plan A kicked in Wednesday: Right-hander Jorge Sosa will go to the bullpen, and Cox has told him he will be used as the closer. "I'm happy," Sosa said. "I'm really looking forward to the challenge. I'm going to go out there and be real aggressive. I've got some experience closing in the Dominican, and I know how to go about the job and do the job."


Analysis: This is a move Cox should have made a month ago, but with all the injuries to the starting rotation, and given the surprisingly strong job Sosa did as a starter last season, Sosa remained in the rotation. But Atlanta's rotation is better now, affording Cox to make the move. His Fantasy versatility as a SP and RP will only help him; consider him a flier in all leagues until he proves dominant in the position -- then he'd be a steal.
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Postby stevekahuda » Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:43 pm

Well, I had to pick him up...

With the SP/RP designation, he becomes instant gold in a league without a P spot and only two RP spots.
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Postby teddyballgamemvp » Thu Jun 22, 2006 1:22 pm

stevekahuda wrote:1-9 with a 5.40 ERA

Yeah, who wouldn't want that as their closer. I think Cox is going senile...


Mo was a sucky starter par excellence in 1995 and even managed to blow his lone save-opp. He did alright as a closer... ;-7
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Postby dawgs2010 » Thu Jun 22, 2006 1:26 pm

stevekahuda wrote:Well, I had to pick him up...

With the SP/RP designation, he becomes instant gold in a league without a P spot and only two RP spots.


Even though my team is overloaded with mediocre RP's I may pick him up for that on reason.
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Postby tol1l1yboy » Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:42 pm

What I dont understand is why take the job away from K. Ray when he was pitching well in the role. I think he blew what one save? It isnt his fault that Atlanta sucks and hasnt given him a save opportunity in almost 2 weeks!?!
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