Red Sox New Closer: Hanrahan Out, Tazawa In

The Boston Red Sox new closer role will be filled by Junichi Tazawa as Joel Hanrahan was placed on the disabled list for the second time this season on Tuesday. Hanrahan was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained right forearm.

The 31-year-old has struggled with the Red Sox since coming to the team from the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason. In nine appearances this season, Hanrahan has blown two of his six save opportunities while his earned run average has skyrocketed to 9.82.

Right-hander Junichi Tazawa is expected to take on the Red Sox’s new closer role as manager John Farrell plans on keeping Koji Uehara in the setup spot for the eighth inning. Pitcher Allan Webster will replace Hanrahan on the roster after being called-up from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Andrew Bailey originally replaced Joel Hanrahan as the Red Sox’s new closer after Hanrahan’s first stint on the disabled list in mid-April. Bailey’s time as the closer didn’t last long, as he also fell to injury and was placed on the DL before Monday’s game with strained right biceps.

Manager John Farrell spoke with MLB Network Radio on Tuesday and he believes Tazawa is the right choice to close out ballgames for the Red Sox.

“I think what we’d love to do is close Tazawa,” Farrell said. “We’d keep Koji in that eighth inning role that he’s been in.”

He also added that the Red Sox have a lot of options in their bullpen that could step-up and close out games as they move forward without Hanrahan.

“Fortunately we do have some depth to turn to internally and we know that we’ve got to get through these next couple of days to kinda regroup,” Farrell added. “So we’re kind of breathing a little thin ice down there right now and just trying to manage the best we can to get through these next couple of days to regroup.”

The Boston Red Sox will look to avoid a sweep by the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park on Thursday. The Twins had the bats going on Wednesday as 15 runs crossed the plate before it was all said and done. With two straight losses, the Red Sox have allowed the Baltimore Orioles to climb the AL East standings.

The Orioles and Red Sox are tied atop the division while the New York Yankees are just one-game behind with their roster working it’s way back from the disabled list.

Will the Boston Red Sox new closer, Junichi Tazawa, get the job done, or is the AL East now up for grabs?

[Image via Keith Allison]