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The Journal Gazette

Friday, June 30, 2017 2:20 am

Notebook: Closer's role open to competition

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

With David Bednar gone, the TinCaps not only lost their best relief pitcher, but they don't have an obvious option to replace him as closer.

Manager Anthony Contreras plans to use the coming weeks as an audition for members of the bullpen as they attempt to state their case to be used in high-leverage situations, especially save opportunities.

"Somebody has to step up and do it," Contreras said. "Everybody's going to get an opportunity to probably do it now. There's no set guy."

On Wednesday, Contreras met with the current crop of relievers – Will Headean, Nick Monroe, Diomar Lopez, Hansel Rodriguez, Blake Rogers, Wilmer Torres and Mark Zimmerman.

Torres earned his first save in Thursday's 7-4 win over South Bend.

"I told those guys it's a challenge to the bullpen," Contreras said. "It's like, 'Who's going to step up and take over that role?' Who's going to fill the shoes of Bednar, who was very, very good for us and who kind of dominated in this league?"

Bednar ranked second in the Midwest League with nine saves and a 1.87 ERA before being promoted Tuesday from low-A Fort Wayne to high-A Lake Elsinore as the San Diego Padres reconfigured their farm system.

"That's a good thing when he gets to move up," Contreras said. "He's deserving of the opportunity, but it gives an opportunity to somebody else now to show what they can do in that role."

Ouch: Ex-TinCap Trea Turner suffered a serious injury Thursday. The Washington Nationals' shortstop was diagnosed with a fractured right wrist after being hit by a pitch. Turner, who played for Fort Wayne in 2014, leads the major leagues with 35 stolen bases this year.

Nationwide success: Entering Thursday, the TinCaps' Brad Zunica had a 1.226 on-base plus slugging percentage this month, which was the best of any Single-A player at any level or league.