Varner continues to shut the door

Fort Wayne, IN – Matt Varner continued his dominance of closing games for the Fort Wayne Wizards during the month of May and in the process, took over the Midwest League lead in the Rolaids Relief Man of the Month award for May.

Matt Varner was 0-1 with eight saves during the month of May for a total of 22 points. In the Rolaids Relief Man points system, a save is worth three points, a win valued at two points and a loss is rated at negative two points. Varner finished two points behind the Swing of the Quad Cities (St. Louis Cardinals affiliate) closer Mike Sillman who was 0-0 with eight saves for 24 points.

In the Midwest League race, Varner leads all closers with 41 total points (0-2, 15 saves), leading Sillman by two points (2-0, 12 saves) and Danny Hill of the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays affiliate) who has 31 points with a 1-2 record and 11 saves.

Overall, Varner is currently tied for fourth place with fellow San Diego Padre prospect Brad Baker of Triple-A Portland in the entire minor league race. Michael Martinez of Charleston (New York Yankees affiliate) leads the minor leagues with 52 points (2-0, 16 saves).

Varner's success for the Wizards continues a stretch of great closers for Fort Wayne. Leo Rosales won the Rolaids Relief Man Award for the Midwest League in 2004 and Dale Thayer came into the month of August in 2003 with the Midwest League lead. Former Padres prospect J.J. Trujillo won the overall minor league award in 2000.

After saving the last two games against the Swing, Varner is currently 0-2 with 16 saves and a 4.50 earned run average in 18 appearances. In his last four appearances, he is a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities, allowing only one hit, one walk and striking out five.


Fort Wayne concludes an eight-game homestand with a 6:00 p.m. contest tonight against the Swing and a 7:00 p.m. contest on Friday against the Swing. The Wizards hit the road starting on Saturday for an eight-game, nine-day road trip when the take on the Kane County Cougars (Oakland A's affiliate) and Burlington Bees (Kansas City Royals affiliate).

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