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Rockies cut ties with former closer Corpas

Rockies cut ties with former closer Corpas

DENVER -- The Rockies have placed their former closer, right-hander Manuel Corpas, on unconditional release waivers, industry sources told MLB.com Tuesday.

Corpas, a key figure in the team's run to the World Series in 2007, has struggled with injuries and inconsistency since. It's unclear if Corpas will be able to pitch in 2011 because he underwent Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow late in the season.

When he was placed on the disabled list Aug. 27, he was 3-5 with a 4.62 ERA and 10 saves in 14 opportunities, with 62 1/3 innings pitched. Corpas reprised his closer duties in May, because closer Huston Street was on the disabled list and Franklin Morales, his replacement, struggled with inconsistency and shoulder weakness.

Corpas, who turns 28 on Dec. 3, burst onto the scene in 2007 when he took over as closer in July of that year and earned 19 regular-season saves. He also had two saves in the National League Championship Series against the D-backs and finished the postseason 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA.

"Manny truly appreciated his time in Colorado," said Tom O'Connell, Corpas' agent. "Obviously, the National League championship year was a special one. He's going to continue to focus on his rehab with his main goal to compete once again at the Major League level in 2011."

Before the 2008 season, the Rockies signed Corpas to a four-year, $8.025 million contract with club options for 2012 and 2013. However, Corpas converted four of 13 save opportunities. He lost the job early in the year and finished in a setup role.

The Rockies traded for Street in 2009 and Corpas was the setup man, save for a brief early-season period in which he was elevated to closer while Street was struggling. Corpas' year ended early because of bone spurs in his throwing elbow. The injury required arthroscopic surgery, and a second procedure was needed to clear an infection in the elbow.

Once Corpas clears waivers, the Rockies will still have to pay him $3.75 million -- a $3.5 million salary for 2011 and a $250,000 buyout on an option for 2012.

Street is entrenched as closer. Right-handers Rafael Betancourt, acquired from the Indians during the 2009 season and signed to a two-year contract last winter, and Matt Belisle, who had a career year in 2010, have solidified late-game roles for the Rockies. Also, Manny Delcarmen, obtained from the Red Sox in August, provides additional right-handed bullpen depth.

The Corpas move leaves the Rockies' 40-man roster at 32. The deadline for setting the 40-man winter roster is Friday at 10 p.m. MT.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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