Surprise, Ariz. Curtis Leskanic will start the season as the Kansas City Royals' main closer, but insists he's merely holding the spot until Mike MacDougal is healthy.
MacDougal, who closed 27 games as a rookie, will begin the season on the disabled list as he recovers from two bouts of a stomach virus that caused him to lose five pounds and sapped his energy.
"Mac's an All-Star closer," Leskanic said. "He's good. He's got what is called a 100 mph fastball, and that's a good pitch to have. He throws with a little bit of authority and it's not straight. He's definitely a closer-type guy."
Leskanic was 1-0 with a 1.73 ERA and two saves after Kansas City acquired him a trade July 2 with Milwaukee. Leskanic, who turned 36 Friday, has 51 career saves.
He was the Brewers' closer in 2000-01, logging 29 saves before needing rotator cuff surgery after the 2001 season.
"Moses was the shortstop and the 12 disciples were in the dugout the last time I closed," Leskanic said.
Leskanic has recovered from the surgery, evidenced when he was throwing 93-94 mph in spring training.
MacDougal, who did not pitch in a spring training game after March 13, threw a bullpen session Thursday and was scheduled to throw during batting practice today. General manager Allard Baird wants MacDougal to throw in at least three minor-league games before returning to the Royals' bullpen.