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Fantasy baseball closer updates

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland wipes

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland wipes his face after walking the Philadelphia Phillies' Michael Young to load the bases during the ninth inning of a game in Philadelphia. (April 6, 2013) Credit: AP Photo Matt Slocum

Let the closer carousels begin.

Greg Holland is still the Royals’ closer — for now. But so far he only has two saves while Kelvin Herrera and Aaron Crow have combined for three. Holland did record the save in his last outing on April 9, but it was far from easy. It took 27 pitches, and he allowed a hit and two walks before closing out the game.

Herrera, on the other hand, has been lights out. In six appearances, he’s allowed only two hits and a walk and still hasn’t allowed a run. Perhaps more impressively, Herrera has 11 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, which is a big boost for fantasy owners whether he’s getting saves or not. Herrera might not be given the job outright just yet, but if Holland continues to struggle, then this could be the ol’ “closer by committee” situation.

Here’s a look at other questionable closer situations around the league:

Struggling Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain, according to the Boston Globe. The Sox shutdown the righthander Sunday and originally listed him as day to day.

Hanrahan had done poorly in his previous three outings. The last time he pitched he didn’t manage to record an out. Hanrahan threw 12 pitches and walked two batters before being removed in a win over Tampa Bay on April 13. It remains to be seen whether Hanrahan’s issues on the mound stem from the hamstring injury or not.

Fortunately for the Sox, they have Andrew Bailey to fill the role. The 28-year-old has had success as a closer in the past with the Oakland Athletics. He recorded 20-plus saves in each of his three seasons with the A’s from 2009-11.

Bailey has done his job as the setup man so far this year. In six appearances this season, Bailey is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA, nine strikeouts and four holds. While he blew the save Monday against the Rays, he did walk away with the win. If he keeps that up in the closer’s role, he could take on the job for good, making him a solid pickup in leagues where he’s still available.

The Cubs have arguably the fastest spinning closer carousel in the league. Let’s recap: They started the year with Carlos Marmol, but he was quickly demoted after blowing a save by allowing two homers in a 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves on April 6.

Kyuji Fujikawa moved into the position, but that wasn’t much better. In his last outing, he allowed three runs on three hits to blow the save against San Francisco on Friday. But the Cubs bounced back to score two in the bottom of the ninth to get Fujikawa the win. The next day, Fujikawa was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm.

Now the Cubs are down to Shawn Camp and James Russell as co-closers. In Camp’s first attempted save Sunday, he allowed four runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings and suffered the loss to the Giants. Russell is still unblemished, but he’s only pitched four innings.

According to the Chicago Tribune, recent Cubs acquisitions and veteran relievers Kameron Loe and Kevin Gregg could be options for the ninth.

If the Cubs’ committee continues to struggle, though, they could be right back where they started with Marmol in it for the long haul. None of these pitchers are ideal fantasy options, and in shallow leagues, it’s best to just stay away. As for deeper leagues, with Marmol’s history of success (116 saves in eight seasons), he’s the best bet in a weak pool.

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