Thursday, July 17, 2008

Saito Out, Dodgers Potentially Screwed

The Dodgers Takashi Saito will be out a minimum of six weeks after being diagnosed with a sprained elbow ligament. Heavyset reliever Jonathan Broxton moves into the closer role for the time being.

Saito has saved 17 games so far this season with an ERA of 2.18 and likely would have replaced Kerry Wood in the All-Star game but for his injury. Broxton, whose fastball reaches 100 mph, filled in temporarily for Saito last season with mixed results. He is widely regarded as the Dodgers closer of the future, but any struggles may force the Dodgers to make a trade, since pitching is the only thing keeping the team in the playoff hunt.

This may also mean the return of phenom Clayton Kershaw, as the Dodgers consider returning Chan Ho Park to the bullpen to compensate for Saito's loss.