Another woe: Farnsworth has elbow soreness
UPDATE, 3:36: Though nothing official from the Rays, players in the clubhouse said they have heard Farnsworth will be on the DL to open the season. Both Fernando Rodney and Joel Peralta said they are ready and willing if asked to take over closing duties.
UPDATE, 2:16: Farnsworth is seeing a doctor today, but the Rays don't expect anything definitive until Wednesday or Thursday. Best guess, this closer to the opener, is that he lands on the DL.
BREAKING: Closer Kyle Farnsworth is experiencing elbow soreness and his status for opening day is uncertain.
The Rays had no further information yet, but his absence over any extended period of time would be a major blow.
Farnsworth, 35, was a integral part of the Rays success last season, saving a career-high 25 games in 31 chances, while posting a 2.18 ERA for his 63 appearances.
He was limited by a sore elbow in September, going nearly two weeks between appearances, coming back the final week for four games, then not pitching in the playoffs.
The Rays felt good enough about his condition to pick up his $3.3-million option, rather than pay a $650,000 buyout. Farnsworth didn’t throw much during the winter – though he did participate in paintball tournaments – and was held back at the start of the spring ostensibly to limit his workload.
He made five appearances, last on Saturday, working 5 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and no walks, striking out two, maintaining his health was fine.
With Farnsworth out, the Rays would likely use a match-up style arrangement, but the bulk of the ninth-inning work could go to veteran Joel Peralta, the 36-year-old right-hander who stepped in at times for Farnsworth last season and saved six games. Another option is free-agent acquisition Fernando Rodney, who has previous closing experience with the Tigers. Also a candidate is lefty J.P. Howell.