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Aaron Heilman Is Arizona's New Closer

Jun 15, 2010 – 7:34 PM
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Tom Fornelli

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Through the first two and a half months of the 2010 season, Aaron Heilman has been the only consistently reliable arm out of the Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen. Which is something his manager, A.J. Hinch, has obviously taken notice of, because on Tuesday Hinch announced that Heilman will now be serving as the team's closer.

"I'm going to try a few different things," Hinch said on Tuesday afternoon. "I let [Chad] Qualls know today that he won't close tonight and probably won't close tomorrow night and we'll go from there. I'm going to mix things up a little bit.

"I'd say the majority of the opportunities will go to Heilman, but he might be needed in the seventh or eighth, too. We'll piece it together at the end the best we can. Right now, I'm going to take the guarantee of the back-end away from Qualls and let him work on things in a different role."

Chad Qualls, now Arizona's former closer, has not been having the greatest season, and it's unclear exactly what the new role Hinch is giving him will be. He may end up working middle relief, or he may end up bringing Hinch coffee. Nobody knows just yet.

Of course, since Hinch also said that Heilman will only get the majority of the team's save opportunities, it's also somewhat unclear who else will fill the closer's role with him. Hinch did say that Juan Gutierrez, Blaine Boyer and Esmerling Vasquez may be put in "uncomfortable situations."

It's also possible that the team is hoping that the newly acquired Sam Demel, who was just traded to Arizona from Oakland for Conor Jackson, could play a role in the Diamondbacks bullpen as well. Demel had six saves with Oakland's Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento before being dealt.
Filed under: Sports