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1221214 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-03-22 00:13:37.0 UTC 2012-03-21T20:13:37.000-04:00 tampa-bay-rays-kyle-farnsworth-perfectly-happy-not-having-official-closer Published 2012-03-22 03:42:48.0 UTC 2012-03-21T23:42:48.000-04:00 sports/baseball/rays DTI 89923716 . TODAY Rays at Pirates 1:05, Bradenton Other area teams Phillies at Blue Jays, 1:05, Dunedin Yankees at Red Sox, 7:05, Fort Myers. TV: ESPN Closing time Pitchers who went latest into their careers before a 25-save season: Pitcher, team Season Year Saves David Weathers, Reds 17th 2007 33 John Smoltz, Braves 14th 2002 55 Kyle Farnsworth, Rays 13th 2011 25 Hoyt Wilhelm, WSox 13th 1964 27 Mike Jackson, Indians 13th 1998 40 PORT CHARLOTTE — Semantics, really. That's all it is. Kyle Farnsworth saved 25 games for the Rays last season. Of their 44 save situations, he got the call 31 times (while missing two-plus weeks with elbow issues). Every one of his 63 appearances came from the eighth inning on. He finished 51 games. But, still … As many times as manager Joe Maddon called on Farnsworth to save the Rays last season, he did not once actually, officially call him the closer. And given how unexpectedly well it worked out, and how incredibly important Farnsworth was — and is — to the Rays' success, Maddon isn't about to start now. "I don't want him to think anything differently than he thought last year," Maddon said. "I don't want anybody else to think anything differently. I just like the way it went. "I'm going to call him Kyle." Pitching coach Jim Hickey, even more appreciative, goes one further: "I just call him Mr. Farnsworth." Farnsworth, 35, laughs about the whole thing, that high-pitched giggle that you don't expect from the fierce-looking, camo-wearing, truck-driving guy ESPN The Magazine once dubbed the baddest man in baseball. "Whatever he wants to do," Farnsworth said. "It worked last year. It doesn't matter to me. I'm just happy to be able to still be pitching." This will be Farnsworth's 18th season in pro ball, 14th in the majors. He'd been a starter early on and a middle reliever most of the rest of the time. He had 16 saves in a 2005 season split between Detroit and Atlanta and collected 11 others over the years. But he never had the opportunity presented last season, to be the main man, albeit in all but name. The secret to success, he found, was not doing anything differently. "I just got an opportunity and just went out and tried to do the best I could," he said. "Tried not to control things I can't control, do what I'm able to do and go from there. "In a way, I guess it's all in the way you look at it. You just try to look at it the same, whether it's the first inning or the last inning. The game's hard enough as it is, there's enough stuff going on, to worry about what inning you're pitching." The one thing Farnsworth did learn was to stop using his split-finger fastball. He threw it regularly in 2001 and it hurt his elbow. He threw it again in 2006 and it hurt his elbow. And he starting throwing it again last year — probably about 20 times total — and it hurt his elbow, idling him for much of September. "It was just stupid," Farnsworth said. "It's definitely not going to be thrown from my arm anymore." The Rays felt comfortable enough with the elbow to pick up his $3.3 million option, which Farnsworth was hoping for since he enjoyed playing near his Disney-area home — close enough that he made the drive each way every day, allowing him to either take the kids to school or bring the two boys to the Trop. (And leading to the question of whether it's tougher to traverse I-4 daily than to close out, say, the Yankees. "It depends which way you're going," he said. "If you're going toward Orlando, yes. If you're going toward Tampa, it's not all that bad.") Maddon and Hickey learned a few things about Farnsworth, primarily that he wasn't just the hard-thrower they'd seen from across the field or on TV but much more of a pitcher, and a pitch-maker, similar to what they saw in Rafael Soriano in 2010. Specifically, how Farnsworth would take things slower as the pace quickened, using his off-speed pitches in key situations. "I saw game-planning and I saw execution of pitches," Maddon said. "He never got riled, he had a great heartbeat the whole time. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know him. I hadn't seen him. All that stuff was fabulous." Almost, you might say, like a closer. Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com. By Marc Topkin, Times Staff Writer Baseball,Rays,Sports Tampa Bay Rays' Kyle Farnsworth perfectly happy not having official "closer" label By Marc Topkin The veteran is comfortable keeping things just the same. 4STC Sports 2 Star Farnsworth has Rays' full confidence after first year as&mdash; sshhh&mdash; 'closer' External input 1 sp_rays032212-2STC Farnsworth has Rays' full confidence after first year as&mdash; sshhh&mdash; 'closer' 2012-03-22 04:00:00.0 UTC 2012-03-22T00:00:00.000-04:00 Kyle Farnsworth says the key to success in his first season as a closer was not changing too much: &#8220;You just try to look at it the same, whether it&#8217;s the first inning or the last inning.&#8221; resources/images/dti/2012/03/c4s_farnsworth03221_215314a.jpg EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times resources/images/dti/rendered/2012/03/c4s_farnsworth03221_215314a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2012/03/c4s_farnsworth03221_215314a_8col.jpg resources/images/dti/2012/03/c4s_farnsworthmug03_215313a.jpg resources/images/dti/rendered/2012/03/c4s_farnsworthmug03_215313a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2012/03/c4s_farnsworthmug03_215313a_8col.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2012/03/21/89923716-tampa-bay-rays-kyle-farnsworth-perfectly-happy-not-having-official-closer StaffArticle 2012-11-18 12:25:33.0 UTC 2012-11-18T07:25:33.000-05:00 sports,baseballBaseballsports,baseball,raysTampa Bay Rays. TODAYRays at Pirates1:05, BradentonOther area teamsPhillies at Blue Jays, 1:05, DunedinYankees at Red Sox, 7:05, Fort Myers. TV: ESPN Closing timeBaseball,Rays,SportsBaseball,Rays,SportsMarc Topkin 380332 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:36:06.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:36:06.000-04:00 marc-topkin published 2013-02-18 17:30:43.0 UTC 2013-02-18T12:30:43.000-05:00 Marc Topkin <p>Marc Topkin has covered baseball for the <i>Times</i> since 1987 &mdash; from the lengthy effort to secure a team, to the awarding of the Tampa Bay franchise in 1995, and through each of the Rays seasons starting in 1998. He has traveled throughout the United States with the team, as well as to Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Japan, and has covered All-Star Games and the World Series, as well as Super Bowls and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.</p> Times Staff Writer writers DTI 33745506 Marc Topkin has covered baseball for the Times since 1987 — from the lengthy effort to secure a team, to the awarding of the Tampa Bay franchise in 1995, and through each of the Rays seasons starting in 1998. He has traveled throughout the United States with the team, as well as to Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Japan, and has covered All-Star Games and the World Series, as well as Super Bowls and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. <p>Phone: (727) 893-8801</p> <p>Email: <a href="mailto:topkin@tampabay.com">topkin@tampabay.com</a></p> <p>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.tampabay.com/rays/">The Heater</a></p> <p>Twitter: @TBTimes_Rays</p> <div style="position: absolute; left: -40px; top: -25px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;" data-mce-bogus="1" class="mcePaste" id="_mcePaste"></div> 1 /resources/images/bio-photo/2012/topkin.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/33745506-marc-topkin AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:36:06.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:36:06.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">MARC TOPKIN</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Staff Writer 2279608 2016-05-31 02:06:47.0 UTC 3 Months Ago rays-to-ease-brad-boxberger-back-into-closer-role sports/baseball/rays Rays to ease Brad Boxberger back into closer role StaffArticle 2283473 2016-06-29 01:28:23.0 UTC 2 Months Ago rays-closer-alex-colome-hoping-for-brief-dl-stay sports/baseball/rays Rays closer Alex Colome hoping for brief DL stay StaffArticle 2279936 2016-06-02 02:23:20.0 UTC 3 Months Ago rays-closer-boxberger-out-1-2-months-with-oblique-strain sports/baseball/rays Rays closer Boxberger out 1-2 months with oblique strain StaffArticle <p><b>. TODAY</b></p> <p><b>Rays at Pirates</b></p> <p>1:05, Bradenton</p> <p><b>Other area teams</b></p> <p>Phillies at Blue Jays, 1:05, Dunedin</p> <p>Yankees at Red Sox, 7:05, Fort Myers. <b>TV:</b> ESPN<br /><br /><b>Closing time</b></p> <p>Pitchers who went latest into their careers before a 25-save season:</p> <p></p> <table border="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td><b>Pitcher, team</b></td> <td><b>Season</b></td> <td><b>Year</b></td> <td><b>Saves</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td>David Weathers, Reds</td> <td>17th</td> <td>2007</td> <td>33</td> </tr> <tr> <td>John Smoltz, Braves</td> <td>14th</td> <td>2002</td> <td>55</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Kyle Farnsworth, Rays</td> <td>13th</td> <td>2011</td> <td>25</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Hoyt Wilhelm, WSox</td> <td>13th</td> <td>1964</td> <td>27</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Mike Jackson, Indians</td> <td>13th</td> <td>1998</td> <td>40</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <br /> <br />PORT CHARLOTTE — Semantics, really. That's all it is. <p></p> <p>Kyle Farnsworth saved 25 games for the Rays last season. Of their 44 save situations, he got the call 31 times (while missing two-plus weeks with elbow issues). Every one of his 63 appearances came from the eighth inning on. He finished 51 games.</p> <p>But, still …</p> <p>As many times as manager Joe Maddon called on Farnsworth to save the Rays last season, he did not once actually, officially call him the closer.</p> <p>And given how unexpectedly well it worked out, and how incredibly important Farnsworth was — and is — to the Rays' success, Maddon isn't about to start now.</p> <p>&quot;I don't want him to think anything differently than he thought last year,&quot; Maddon said. &quot;I don't want anybody else to think anything differently. I just like the way it went.</p> <p>&quot;I'm going to call him Kyle.&quot;</p> <p>Pitching coach Jim Hickey, even more appreciative, goes one further: &quot;I just call him Mr. Farnsworth.&quot;</p> <p>Farnsworth, 35, laughs about the whole thing, that high-pitched giggle that you don't expect from the fierce-looking, camo-wearing, truck-driving guy <i>ESPN The Magazine</i> once dubbed the baddest man in baseball.</p> <p>&quot;Whatever he wants to do,&quot; Farnsworth said. &quot;It worked last year. It doesn't matter to me. I'm just happy to be able to still be pitching.&quot;</p> <p>This will be Farnsworth's 18th season in pro ball, 14th in the majors. He'd been a starter early on and a middle reliever most of the rest of the time. He had 16 saves in a 2005 season split between Detroit and Atlanta and collected 11 others over the years. But he never had the opportunity presented last season, to be the main man, albeit in all but name.</p> <p>The secret to success, he found, was<i> not</i> doing anything differently.</p> <p>&quot;I just got an opportunity and just went out and tried to do the best I could,&quot; he said. &quot;Tried not to control things I can't control, do what I'm able to do and go from there.</p> <p>&quot;In a way, I guess it's all in the way you look at it. You just try to look at it the same, whether it's the first inning or the last inning. The game's hard enough as it is, there's enough stuff going on, to worry about what inning you're pitching.&quot;</p> <p>The one thing Farnsworth did learn was to stop using his split-finger fastball. He threw it regularly in 2001 and it hurt his elbow. He threw it again in 2006 and it hurt his elbow. And he starting throwing it again last year — probably about 20 times total — and it hurt his elbow, idling him for much of September.</p> <p>&quot;It was just stupid,&quot; Farnsworth said. &quot;It's definitely not going to be thrown from my arm anymore.&quot;</p> <p>The Rays felt comfortable enough with the elbow to pick up his $3.3 million option, which Farnsworth was hoping for since he enjoyed playing near his Disney-area home — close enough that he made the drive each way every day, allowing him to either take the kids to school or bring the two boys to the Trop.</p> <p>(And leading to the question of whether it's tougher to traverse I-4 daily than to close out, say, the Yankees. &quot;It depends which way you're going,&quot; he said. &quot;If you're going toward Orlando, yes. If you're going toward Tampa, it's not all that bad.&quot;)</p> <p>Maddon and Hickey learned a few things about Farnsworth, primarily that he wasn't just the hard-thrower they'd seen from across the field or on TV but much more of a pitcher, and a pitch-maker, similar to what they saw in Rafael Soriano in 2010.</p> <p>Specifically, how Farnsworth would take things slower as the pace quickened, using his off-speed pitches in key situations.</p> <p>&quot;I saw game-planning and I saw execution of pitches,&quot; Maddon said. &quot;He never got riled, he had a great heartbeat the whole time. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know him. I hadn't seen him. All that stuff was fabulous.&quot;</p> <p>Almost, you might say, like a closer.</p> <p><i>Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com.</i></p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:45:13