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Weekly Performance Report: Trojans in the MLB

A pair of relievers are enjoying strong comeback seasons. Plus, a young manager is thriving as well.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Boxberger

Houston Astros v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

For the first time since his lone all-star appearance in 2015, Boxberger is back in the closer role, this time for a new team in the Arizona Diamondbacks. He has 12 saves in 13 chances, the best save percentage among the league’s ten closers with as many saves or more. Boxberger was traded to the Dimondbacks after injuries cost him the job in Tampa Bay and shortened each of his last two seasons.

He racked up a pair of strikeouts and threw a scoreless 9th Wednesday in a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers—there hasn’t been a save opportunity in Arizona’s last 11 games, so the team wanted Boxberger to get some work in.

Ryan Cook

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Cook hadn’t appeared in a game since 2015 until his season and team debut with the Seattle Mariners. He has yet to allow a run or walk in four relief appearances, surrendering just one hit. His last outing was a scoreless seventh inning on Saturday in a victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Cook figures to be a key middle reliever moving forward for a Mariners team currently sitting in second in the American League wildcard hunt. He was called up on May 17 after impressing in the Minors while working his way back from Tommy John surgery.

Ian Kennedy

Kansas City Royals v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

After arguably the worst year of his career last season, Kennedy has had a pretty rough 2018 as well. He’s 1-5 with a 5.15 ERA, and his WHIP of 1.54 is his highest in about a decade.

He did have a solid outing on Saturday, giving up just two runs in five innings for a no-decision, and is still the No. 2 man in Kansas City’s starting rotation.

Lucas Duda

MLB: Game One-Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals Peter G. Aiken

Duda, Kennedy’s college teammate, was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 14 with a foot injury. There is no timetable yet on his return.

In his first year with the Royals, Duda was hitting fifth and sixth in the order with four home runs and a .256 average before the injury. He had been on a hot streak in May, with a .366 average through the first two weeks. His injury didn’t stop him from hanging out with members of Gold Star families on Memorial Day.

Andrew Triggs

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Triggs went on the 10-day DL on May 22 with a triceps strain in his pitching arm and is expected to be out three to four weeks. He was pulled from his start five days earlier in the third inning due to the injury.

This was shaping up to be Triggs’ first full year as a starting pitcher after hip surgery ended his 2017 season. Despite a 5.23 ERA, he has a 3-1 record.

Aaron Boone

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In his inaugural managerial campaign at the helm of the New York Yankees, Boone has led his team to the second-best record in baseball. The Bronx Bombers trail only their division rival Boston Red Sox by two games.

Boone had big shoes to fill, replacing former World Series-winning player and manager with the Yanks, Joe Girardi, who brought New York within just one game from a return to the Fall Classic last season. His most notable moves have been hitting Aaron Judge second and Giancarlo Stanton cleanup.

Additionally, Boone’s niece Savannah just graduated from USC.

Mark Prior

Los Angeles Dodgers Photo Day Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Former All-American Mark Prior’s promising career was infamously derailed by injuries. His last big-league start came in 2006, and after four years away from the game floated around the Minor Leagues from 2010-2013.

Like Boone, Prior made his MLB coaching debut in 2018 as the bullpen coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers following three seasons as a coach in the San Diego Padres’ system. But the hire has failed to create success—the bullpen is middle of the pack statistically.