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Padres giving Josh Hader ‘little break’ from closer’s role following latest meltdown

Josh Hader
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Following his latest meltdown Friday night, Josh Hader has been removed as the San Diego Padres closer, manager Bob Melvin told reporters Saturday, according to The Athletic. Melvin said they’re giving Hader a “little break” and will use a closer by committee for the time being.

San Diego lost to the last place Washington Nationals on Friday (WAS 6, SD 3) after Hader entered the ninth inning of a tie game and failed to retire a batter. He issued a leadoff walk, made a throwing error on a tapper back to the mound to allow the go-ahead run to score, then served up a two-run homer to rookie Alex Call.

“There’s always going to be an obstacle in this game that you’re going to have to go over,” Hader told MLB.com following the loss. “That’s one of the things right now — obviously, this obstacle is hitting a little bit harder than most — but that’s why we play this game. You’ve got two options. You can give up and fold, or you can figure it out and move forward.”

Hader was on the mound when the game-winning run scored in each of his last three appearances, and he’s allowed six runs in only 3 1/3 innings with the Padres. His struggles go back much further than the trade deadline, however. Hader has allowed 19 runs and 34 baserunners in his last 12 2/3 innings dating back to July 1, including six homers.

With Hader moved out of the closer’s role, the Padres figure to lean primarily on righties Luis García and Robert Suarez, and lefty Adrian Morejon, in the ninth inning. Nick Martinez, who has been a revelation since moving into a relief role a few weeks ago, could get save opportunities as well.

Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers for four players at the deadline, Hader was an All-Star this season and a deserving one, taking a 1.09 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings into July. The Padres will be able to retain Hader as an arbitration-eligible player next season. He is not a rental.

At 66-56, the Padres enter Saturday one game up on the third and final National League wild-card spot. San Diego is 6-10 since the trade deadline and 25-32 in their last 57 games.

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