LOS ANGELES (AP) — Craig Kimbel is closer to the major league-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
After months of defending him, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that going forward, Kimbrel will be used in different innings and different situations over the final two weeks of the regular season. He said no one would replace Kimbrel in the ninth.
“It might not be traditional, but I don’t care too much about it,” Roberts said.
He did not commit to Kimbrel’s playoff situation. The Dodgers (104-46) have already clinched the NL West title. They will open the playoffs at home on October 11.
Kimbrel struggled in his first season in Los Angeles, where he replaced Kenley Jansen after the veteran signed with Atlanta in the offseason. The right-hander has a 6-6 record and a 4.14 ERA. In 13 seasons with six different teams, Kimbrel has a career ERA of 2.33.
“He was very open to doing what’s best for the ball club,” Roberts said. “He sees it more as a challenge and that’s what we expected.”
Kimbrel has 22 of 27 chances for a save, but the ninth has become a rollercoaster ride with fans booing at times.
Kimbrel picked up the win against Arizona on Thursday despite hitting the leadoff batter, giving up a home run and on foot another batter. The Dodgers rallied in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 victory.
His career 394 saves leads all active pitchers and is seventh all-time.
“I can’t predict the future,” Roberts said. “All I know is that at this precise moment he is ready to take on the role that we have for him.”
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