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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Craig Kimbrel becomes eighth MLB player with 400 saves

Craig Kimbrel recorded the 400th save of his Major League career by working a scoreless bottom of the ninth in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 6-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves in a National League game on Friday night.

Kimbrel became the eighth player in Major League history with 400 saves, and he was third-fastest to reach the milestone. Kimbrel got his 400th save in his 730th game.

Mariano Rivera took 697 games and Trevor Hoffman needed 706 outings to reach 400 saves.

Rivera and Hoffman are the top two in saves in MLB history with 652 and 601, respectively. Other relievers with at least 400 saves are Lee Smith with 478, Francisco Rodriguez with 437, John Franco with 424, Billy Wagner with 422 and Kenley Jansen with 401.

Jansen recorded his 400th save on May 10 in the Boston Red Sox’s 5-2 victory over Atlanta. Like Kimbrel’s, Jansen’s 400th save came at the Braves’ Truist Park.

An alumnus of Lee High School in Huntsville, Kimbrel was drafted in the third round in 2008 by Atlanta after pitching for Wallace State in Hanceville. He was the National League Rookie of the Year with the Braves in 2011.

Kimbrel recorded the first 186 saves of his career for Atlanta. He led the National League in saves for the Braves every season from 2011 through 2014.

“I’m glad I got this opportunity tonight,” Kimbrel said. “It’s kind of where it all started. It’s awesome.”

Kimbrel was a National League All-Star in each of those seasons. He also was an American League All-Star for the Boston Red Sox from 2016 through 2018, with the 2018 team winning the World Series. He went to the All-Star Game for the eighth time as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 2021.

In this 14th MLB season, Kimbrel has a 3-1 record with a 5.68 earned-run average and six saves in 21 appearances for Philadelphia. In 19 innings, he has struck out 30 and yielded 14 hits and 11 walks.

Kimbrel is in his first season with the Phillies, who are his seventh big-league team.

In his MLB career, Kimbrel has a 44-37 record with a 2.41 ERA. In 707.1 innings, he has struck out 1,128 and yielded 412 hits and 291 walks.

“I need that velocity to get outs,” Kimbrel said. “I’ve found some things that have worked for me over the years. I like to work out. I like to push myself. I feel like if we’re going to be successful in this game and get better and better, you have to continue to push yourself no matter what you’ve done or what you’ve been able to accomplish. Each year brings new challenges and new opportunities.”

Philadelphia Phillies reliever Craig Kimbrel pitches against the Atlanta Braves

Philadelphia Phillies reliever Craig Kimbrel pitches against the Atlanta Braves during a National League game on Friday, May 26, 2023, at Truist Park in Atlanta.(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.

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