are a type of relief pitcher
. Long relievers traditionally enter early in a game (anywhere from the first inning to the fourth inning) when the starting pitcher cannot continue, whether due to ineffective pitching, lack of endurance, rain delays, injury, or ejection. The hope is that the long reliever will be able to get the game under control, and hopefully his team's offense will be able to help get the team back into the game. The hope is also that the long reliever will pitch long enough to save other relievers in the bullpen from having to pitch. Long relievers are usually players that used to be starters
either in the major leagues or in the minors (and still can be a temporary starter if one of the normal starters is injured or otherwise unavailable), but their teams feel they have better starters available. Sometimes a team's long reliever is a former starter who has lost his effectiveness, either through a decline in skills or a series of injuries. The quality of long relievers can vary but when the long reliever is known to be an ineffective former starter, they are often called the "mop up man" or "mop."