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Urbina Now the Closer


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I know its pretty obvious that Looper has lost his closer's role, but the quote by TJ in the article seems to be a change from saying hes going to base it on matchups to saying Urbina is now the closer:


MIAMI (Sept. 24) -- Florida Marlins closer Braden Looper lost his job to Ugueth Urbina on Wednesday after three straight rough outings.


Manager Jack McKeon made the change to try to help the Marlins protect their lead in the NL wild-card race.


"Right now I'm going to go with Urbina," McKeon said. "But we still have faith in Looper."


Urbina, a right-hander, led the AL with 26 saves when he was traded by Texas to Florida in July. He earned his fourth save in six chances with Florida against Philadelphia on Tuesday and lowered his ERA to 1.49.


Looper, also a right-hander, blew consecutive save chances against Atlanta, then walked the only two batters he faced in the eighth inning Tuesday. Florida fans booed Looper, then cheered when he left the game.


"I can feel their pain," he said. "Believe me, I'm not out there trying to do what I did."


Looper threw on the side Wednesday and said he's adjusting his mechanics.


"I'm going to be fine," he said. "It's just a bad time, obviously. I'm frustrated with it, but I'll make it all right."



09/24/03 18:51 EDT

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I have something completely diffrent....


Looper to share closer role with Urbina


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The closer's job is no longer the sole domain of Braden Looper.


So said Marlins manager Jack McKeon, who plans to split the duties between Looper and Ugueth Urbina.


''We have two closers,'' McKeon said Tuesday.


On paper, he does. Looper leads the club with 28 saves, while Urbina was leading the American League with 26 before the Marlins landed him in July.


But after Looper blew each of his past two save opportunities -- both against the Braves -- McKeon decided to go with a ''mix and match'' approach.


''It's going to be a little different now,'' McKeon said. ``If you've got a guy who can't hit a curveball, you've got [Chad]Fox. If you've got a guy who can't hit a fastball, you've got Looper. And if you need a combination, you've got Urbina.''


Looper watched from the bullpen as Urbina closed out Monday's victory in Atlanta after Fox pitched the eighth.


''All I can do is just take the ball when they give it to me,'' Looper said. ``I'm trying not to worry about anything but to help this club win.''


Other than Tommy Phelps, who hasn't pitched in two months, the only left-hander in the Marlins bullpen is Michael Tejera. But McKeon said he thinks the team can get buy with just one southpaw reliever.


''Fox usually gets left-handers pretty good, as does Urbina,'' McKeon said.


Left-handers are hitting .226 against Fox and .182 against Urbina.



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