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League loses closer's role for the time being

League loses closer's role for the time being

League loses closer's role for the time being
SEATTLE -- Less than a day after struggling Mariners closer Brandon League blew his fourth save of the season, manager Eric Wedge announced the team would go a different direction at the end of games. Wedge said he will now play the matchups, opting not to name an alternate closer.

League gave up three runs to the Angels in the top of the ninth inning on Friday in a 6-4 loss, the third time in four outings he allowed at least two runs in the ninth inning. Wedge said after Friday's loss that he didn't want to make a decision immediately after the game, but after discussions with pitching coach Carl Willis, Wedge made the announcement before Saturday afternoon's contest.

"Carl and I have talked to Leaguer and we're going to pull him back a little bit and give him some opportunities outside that closing role and work to get him back on track," Wedge said. "Very similar to what we did last year. I would say that worked well for him and for us. So we talked to him about that and a couple little things we feel like he needs to do. He's very understanding about that.

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"I feel like it's best for Brandon and I feel like it's best for the team right now, and it will be the best thing for us moving forward. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a couple steps forward, and that's what we're doing."

Last season, League blew three saves and gave up the lead in a tie game in four straight appearances, from May 8-13. Wedge gave the right-hander a mental break and then inserted him into a game in a non-save situation before reinstating him as the closer. League went on to become an All-Star and ended the season with 37 saves.

Wedge said he hopes to take a similar route with League, who has been struggling with his command. In 21 appearances, he already has issued 12 walks, which eclipse the 10 he had all of last season. Even so, Wedge is more concerned with other areas of the All-Star's game.

"Obviously, his walks are up a little bit, but when you look at him, I look at his last three outings," Wedge said. "He's had his good stuff, he's been in the right arm slot, the ball's coming out of his hand good. I'm not going to get into the details of what and why, but there's a couple things he needs to do, and he knows it, he's aware of it. He's a good worker. Last year, he made some good adjustments, and I anticipate him doing so this year."

In the meantime, Wedge will use a closer-by-committee approach, saying everyone could be called upon, except League and long-reliever Hisashi Iwakuma. No other Mariners pitcher has recorded a save this season.

"We're not going to name a closer, we don't feel like that's where we are with the rest of the guys in the bullpen right now, with our youth and inexperience," Wedge said. "So we'll just match it up, we'll just play the game out and match it up as we feel like what's best for us on that particular night."

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