OAKLAND, CALIF. Jeremy Affeldt is moving from starter to closer for the Kansas City Royals.
The left-hander started eight games, but was asked to switch roles because Mike MacDougal is working on his control problems at Triple-A Omaha, and the Royals have been relying on several pitchers to finish games.
"It was a mutual decision," Affeldt said Friday. "I did the job last year. I like the job. I had a blast. It wasn't a demotion or a promotion, anything. They told me it wasn't a decision based on performance."
Manager Tony Pena said he didn't expect the move to be permanent. There is no timetable when MacDougal might rejoin the Royals.
MacDougal was 0-1 with a 10.80 earned-run average and one save in five chances following a stint on the disabled list caused by a stomach virus.
He was 3-3 with 24 saves and a 2.59 ERA when he was selected to the All-Star game last July. After the break, he was 0-2 with three saves and a 6.85 ERA.
Affeldt has pitched in relief in 45 of his 78 career appearances and went 1-1 with a 2.56 ERA and four saves in 18 relief outings last season. He held opponents to a .193 average as a reliever last year.
Pena had predicted the 24-year-old Affeldt would be a 20-game winner one day. Now Pena believes Affeldt will save 40 games a season.
"Last year, he did it for us and did a real good job," Pena said. "Right now, we need somebody. He said he'd do whatever it took to help. It's not necessarily a long-term thing. I needed a closer right now. He has the attitude and the stuff to be one of the great closers of the game."
Dennys Reyes will replace Affeldt in the rotation and start Sunday in the finale of this three-game series.