Boston Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey is about to undergo thumb surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb and replacing Bailey until he returns will be pitcher Alfredo Aceves.
Aceves had two saves with the Boston Red Sox last season and competed for a spot in the starting rotation during spring training.
When asked why he chose Aceves Manager Bobby Valentine said of his temporary closer:
“He loves competition. He’s one of the best competitors I’ve seen. I could be wrong. I haven’t seen him up close and personal in battle. But he’s a very good competitor, to say nothing of being a very good pitcher.”
Valentine also pointed to Aceves’ familiarity with the American League as one reason he chose to utilize his talents in the key role.
In the meantime Valentine plans to turn the closer position over to Mark Melancon when Aceves is not available, last season Melancon recorded 20 saves.
When asked about carrying 13 pitchers to star the season Valentine said of the pitcher heavy roster:
“I don’t expect we’ll have 13 the entire season.”
At this time the Boston Redsox roster consists of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and Bard. Starting the season in the bullpen will be Aceves, Melancon, Padilla, Thomas, Atchison, Matt Albers, Franklin Morales and Michael Bowden.
The Red Sox may be pitcher heavy but with untested talent, an injured closer and a fill season still ahead of them a very full pitching roster is probably what’s best for the team at this moment in time.