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Astros Activate Brandon Lyon From DL, Will 'Ease' Him Into Closer Role

The Houston Astros announced after yesterday’s game that they will activate reliever Brandon Lyon from the DL, optioning Jose Valdez back to AAA Oklahoma City. Lyon pitched two scoreless innings of rehab in two appearances for the RedHawks, and all of the sudden, with Lyon back, the Astros have a closer competition. Wait…what?

Mills said he discounts the 7.15 earned run average, four blown saves in eight opportunities and .389 batting average allowed in 12 appearances as the result of Lyon’s physical problems. In 2010, Lyon had a 3.12 ERA and converged 20 of 22 save chances.

“He was not able to locate the ball like he wanted to, and that’s not Brandon when he’s able to throw,” Mills said. “A lot of times when there is an injury, that’s one of the first things to come out – not the decline in velocity, but the (loss of) ability to locate.”

Lyon was never a good fit to close to begin with, seeing as how he has mediocre stuff at best, pitches to contact, and walks quite a few batters. He had an ERA of 3.12, but his xFIP per Fangraphs was 4.47. Yeah, he got hurt, and it’s hard to lose your job because you get hurt, but Mark Melancon has been sterling in Lyon’s absence, blowing just one save in the past month.

One wonders if the Astros are just doing this in a futile attempt to pump up his trade value by inflating it with a bunch of saves, because from a pure numbers standpoint, this move makes no sense. And yes, I do say that as a bitter Melancon fantasy owner.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.