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Inconsistent Craig Kimbrel will no longer serve as the Dodgers’ closer

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Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Craig Kimbrill (46) walks out of Jugs Hill.

Dodgers relief pitcher Craig Kimbrill walks from the hill during a game against the Miami Marlins on Aug. (Marta Lavander/The Associated Press)

Craig Kimbrel is no longer any closer to the Dodgers.

there. Dave Roberts said Friday. finally.

The words came hesitantly, with deliberate pauses, but they came.

“I think for now, I’m going to keep Craig frustrated tonight,” Roberts said. “And my expectation is, yes, I spoke to him today. The plan is now to change roles and put him in a position to perform in different roles in different situations.

“He was very open to doing whatever is best for the football club. So I feel good about that and we will see where that takes us.”

Kimbrel gave up his run at home in the ninth inning of Thursday that put the Arizona Diamondbacks ahead by a race lead. The Dodgers beat the bottom of the inning on the Mookie Betts song, which gave Kimbrel the win.

But Kimbrel, 34, has spoiled five of his 27 saves and has a 4.14 ERA in 57 appearances this season. He is seventh all-time with 394 saves in 13 seasons and led the league in savings for four consecutive years that ended in 2014.

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Perhaps that’s why Roberts and the Dodgers front desk have been stuck with him for so long even though his effectiveness has clearly waned from his heyday.

Dodgers relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel delivers against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.

Dodgers relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel delivers against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday. (Mark J. Terrell/The Associated Press)

Roberts said he appreciated the way Kimbriel took the news that he was no longer any closer.

“He is very professional and knows there is more and more consistency and openness just to do what is best,” he said. “My job is to find the best lane for him and he has no qualms about changing the routine from something he’s always been doing. He views it as a challenge. That’s the way we expect and she talks to him a lot as a team player.”

Roberts said that no one Muskene would take on the closest role for now. Evan Phillips, Prosdar Graterol and Alex Vizia are the most obvious candidates.

“No, to us, she finds out,” Roberts said, “She treats him like we treat all our men, and we put them in the best position to get out.” “That’s kind of the way I’m going to handle each stroke of the pen.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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