PHOENIX, Ariz.— On Tuesday morning, before the Arizona Diamondbacks closed out the 2018 Cactus League season with an afternoon game at Chase Field against the Cleveland Indians, D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo announced Brad Boxberger would start the season as team’s closer.
“Boxberger is going to be our closer,” Lovullo said. “Seven and eight we are going to piece together how we did it last year.”
The D-Backs acquired the 29-year-old Boxberger from the Tampa Bay Rays in a late-November trade that sent minor league right-hander Curtis Taylor to Tampa.
Injuries limited Boxberger to only 57 appearances over the last two seasons, including only appearing in 30 games last season due to a right flexor strain. But, Boxberger led the American League and ranked fourth in the majors with 41 saves in 2015. He certainly has established a track record of success in the ninth inning, something that Lovullo said factored into the decision.
“He came with an incredible reputation, I saw that first hand,” Lovullo said. “He closed games easily. That is a track we liked, but we knew there were some health concerns. So, knowing that he was healthy and walking through that with him was very important.”
Having Boxberger in the ninth inning will allow the D-Backs to keep Archie Bradley in more of a hybrid late innings situation. He could also come into high leverage situations in the middle of the game after the starter got into trouble to keep the game close or preserve a lead.Brad Boxberger has won the role as closer for the @Dbacks, as that and other roster decisions were finalized on Tuesday.Click To Tweet
“Archie will continue to be in the role he was in last year,” Lovullo said. “He excelled in that role, we felt very comfortable with him in that role and we wanted to have Archie available at different times throughout the lineup and I think this would give us as much versatility with Archie as possible.”
Lovullo said that right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano will pitch in the late innings but did not provide a specific inning or other details about his role.
Roster Taking Shape
The D-backs made seven roster moves on Monday, solidifying the roster for the regular season.
Arizona placed right-hander Randall Delgado on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left oblique and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right pectoral muscle. The D-Backs also released catcher Chris Herrmann, opting to go with John Ryan Murphy as the team’s third catcher, and reassigned right-hander Michael Blazek, outfielder Rey Fuentes, right-hander Kris Medlen and infielder Kristopher Negron to minor league camp.
After these moves, the D-backs have 28 players (25 active) left in camp. Lovullo has not officially announced the roster, but here is how it will probably look come Opening Night on Thursday:
Rotation (in no particular order)
Deven Marrero (Not sure what will be done with Marrero, but he is currently active)
Chris Owings (Listed officially as an infielder, but he will play mainly in the outfield until Souza returns and will fill a utility role this season).