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Carter Capps injury dramatically affects Marlins closing competition

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It could now be A.J. Ramos' job to lose.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Carter Capps could have been considered the front runner to win the closing job with the Marlins this spring. But now Capps receiving the opportunity to be on the Opening Day roster could be unlikely.

The hard-throwing right-hander underwent an MRI after complaining of soreness in his elbow Tuesday, according to Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald. Miami, Spencer notes, is expecting to receive an answer relatively quickly.

Since the Marlins acquired Capps, he has had difficulty remaining healthy. He did not pitch for the final two months of the 2015 season as a result of a right elbow sprain and spent time on the disabled list with the same injury in 2014.

While the Marlins are reportedly considering depth, Capps' injury has greater implications for the closing situation. Entering spring workouts, the Marlins consistently said Capps and A.J. Ramos would compete for the closing spot in Miami's bullpen. It could now be Ramos' job to lose.

If the MRI does not reveal anything significant, the Marlins could have Capps resume throwing in the near future. However, there would still likely be a delay involved, and as a result, Ramos would almost certainly have an edge.

Miami does not have a notable amount of depth, so it could be challenging to add relief help via a trade. The Marlins could be in a position to call upon their younger arms, but that might not be ideal this early.

The Marlins do not appear to have an issue with Ramos closing and they shouldn't. After the club traded Steve Cishek last summer, Ramos had success. He ended the regular season with 32 saves and a 2.30 ERA.

Any variation of Capps and Ramos at the back end of the bullpen will make the Marlins' pitching staff stronger. Mike Dunn can also be used as a setup option, and the Marlins have multiple other options to consider when deciding who should earn the final bullpen spots.

As a result of the Capps injury, the Marlins are not going to go out of their way to add a closer. They don't need to, but if Capps is out for a significant period of time, Ramos will be the closer and the Marlins will need bullpen help.