CHICAGO — After his latest ninth-inning blowout, Eddie Guardado is out as Seattle's closer.
"We're going to back off Eddie as far as being the closer right now,'' manager Mike Hargrove said this morning. "We'll try to pitch him in less pressure situations. Just back him away from the edge and see if we can't get his confidence up."
Hargrove said he will go with a committee setup.
"We'll try to match up late in the ballgame and go with the guy that has got the hot hand,'' he said. "We're not going to designate any one person to take over that one spot. It will be a combination of all of them.''
Added Hargrove, "Eddie's still the closer in name. How long this lasts, I don't know – a week, two weeks, a month, two months, the rest of the year, I don't know.''
Guardado yielded a two-out, game-tying home run to Pablo Ozuna in the ninth Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox, his third blown save of the season.
"I'm not doing the job, and I'm hurting my team,'' he said. "The skipper [Hargrove] had to make a change, and I understand, even though it's something you never want to hear.''
Guardado is 0-2 with an 8.38 earned-run-average and has given up four homers in 9 2/3 innings.
"More than just the closer, he really is a leader on this ballclub,'' Hargrove said. "Guys like Eddie, you really have to take it a little longer than you would someone else. But there comes a point in time it's really not accomplishing anything, and I think we reached that point last night.''
Guardado termed himself "sick'' over his poor performances.
"Am I ... hurt? Sure. Because I care. I care about this game. I love this game. I care about the guys in this clubhouse, and I care about winning. I care about the guys in the bullpen being put in a situation they shouldn't be in.
"Everything is going good until the ninth, and you mess the whole chemistry up in there. That's what I really feel bad about.''