Otsuka replaces Cordero as closer
Japanese reliever takes over for struggling incumbent
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have decided to change their closer.Akinori Otsuka will get a chance to close when the Rangers begin a five-game road trip to Cleveland and Tampa Bay on Friday night. Francisco Cordero, an All-Star in 2004, has blown five of his first eight save opportunities, and the Rangers have decided to give him a break from closing. "I'm aware ... everybody here is aware we've had a problem," manager Buck Showalter said after a 6-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. "It hurts. But guys are rallying around each other and Coco. But at some point you've got to get a return. "If we want to be a good club and get where we want to go, we have to figure that out." Otsuka had 137 career saves in Japan and was his country's closer in the World Baseball Classic. Acquired from the Padres in the offseason, he has allowed three runs on five hits in 10 innings for the Rangers, striking out 11. Cordero is 3-2, but with an 11.70 ERA, and he has set a Major League record for most blown saves in the month of April. "This is the first time I have ever gone through something like this," Cordero said. "Not even in the Minors. My pitches are there, it's just bad timing."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.