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Bullpen Report: Saves are tricky to predict

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Back in May, I introduced the masses to the CloserTron 2010. It's a silly little machine that predicts who will be closing games for teams at certain points in the season. Since we are clear of the All-Star break -- the first major point used in the original columns -- I wanted to take a look back and see what went wrong (plenty!), what went right (the easy ones!), what we could learn from it (never trust a saves sleeper coming off Tommy John!), and offer a revision of the September 15 predictions (welcome back, John Axford!), where necessary.

I give you ... the CloserTron 2011! With twice the battery power!

American League East

Orioles

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Jim Johnson
Original guess for closer on September 15 Tommy Hunter

Point to the CloserTron for saying a pitcher who led the majors with 51 saves last season would still have his job in July!

Revised guess at closer on September 15: I'm sticking with Tommy Hunter. Not because of anything bad that Johnson has done, just because if something happens to Johnson, and Hunter takes over, I'll never forgive myself for turning my back on him and his 2.41 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and massive jump in velocity (from 91.6 mph to 95.7 mph) since being made a full-time reliever this year.

Red Sox

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Joel Hanrahan
Actual closer at the ASB: Koji Uehara
Original guess for closer on September 15: Andrew Bailey

I suppose the CloserTron should get points for correctly predicting it wouldn't be Andrew Bailey at the All-Star break.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Before Bailey went on the DL, I kept going back and forth on this one. Bailey hadn't given up an earned run in 5 1/3 innings this month, but Uehara hadn't allowed one in 8 1/3. They had equal strikeout potential, and both had given up just one walk. Uehara is a older, but Bailey's velocity had been erratic, which suggested, at least to me, that maybe he was still hurt. And just when I finished doing all this research, Bailey went on the DL. So I have to go with Uehara here by default, and anoint Junichi Tazawa the new closer-in-waiting.

Yankees

Closer at the All-Star break: Mariano Rivera
Original guess for closer on September 15: Mariano Rivera

I'm not sure there's much to add here.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Rivera has 30 saves at the break, along with a second half that promises to be epic in proportion, as the game's greatest closer goes on a goodbye tour and tries to get the Yankees into another postseason.

Rays

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Jake McGee
Actual closer at the ASB: Fernando Rodney
Original guess for closer on September 15: Jake McGee

McGee got a save on July 11, so we were very close to technically being correct about who would have the last save bef-- ah, you know, I'm not even going to pretend there's something here. McGee is the backup closer, but the job is Rodney's. And Rodney has been very good lately, not allowing a run since mid-June and striking out 20 in his last 12 innings.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Fernando Rodney. But I still say he heads south with his numbers again. I'm not buying a full-on 2012 renaissance.

Blue Jays

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Sergio Santos
Actual closer at the ASB: Casey Janssen
Original guess for closer on September 15: Casey Janssen

My thinking then was that Janssen's shoulder troubles would act up (they did, to a degree) and Santos would ride in and save the day, until Janssen's return. I suppose I'm guilty of over-estimating Santos' recovery abilities, and under-estimating Janssen's threshold for shoulder pain.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Casey Janssen. And Santos has been supplanted as the backup by both Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar (although it's hard to tell which one would get the first crack at it if something happened to Janssen).

American League Central

Royals

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Greg Holland
Original guess for closer on September 15: Greg Holland

Holland's pretty nasty. And underrated. And all those cries for him to be replaced by Kelvin Herrera earlier this season are but a distant memory.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Unless something crazy happens -- like the team being so impressed with Luke Hochevar in relief that they feel the need to swap Holland for help elsewhere -- it's going to be Holland the rest of the way.

Tigers

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Jose Valverde
Actual closer at the ASB: Joaquin Benoit
Original guess for closer on September 15: Jose Valverde

To be fair, Valverde still got his owners nine saves.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Francisco Rodriguez. Just because going out on a limb is fun, Rodriguez is underrated, and I still think the team likes Benoit in middle relief, based on the fact that they passed him over for Bruce Rondon and Valverde (and I'm preety sure Al Alburquerque was in the mix, too) earlier this year.

White Sox

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Addison Reed
Original guess for closer on September 15: Addison Reed

This wasn't an incredibly weak limb to go out on here.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: I can't see the team unloading Reed in any deadline deals. I think he's still there in two months, closing games.

Twins

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Glen Perkins
Original guess for closer on September 15: Glen Perkins

This one also didn't require much hard-hitting analysis.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Like Reed, I would guess Perkins survives any deadline deals.

Indians

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Chris Perez
Original guess for closer on September 15: Chris Perez

There was a little scare with a shoulder injury, but Perez has returned to the closer role and has been a borderline stud. In 10 games dating back to June 28, Perez has a 0.90 ERA and seven saves.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: I have Perez ranked 12th among all closers, and I'm tempted to bring him higher every day. I'm banking on the Indians continuing their winning ways in the second half, giving Perez plenty of opportunities to nail down saves over the final 67 games of the season. Barring another shoulder setback, he should be the closer on Sept. 15.

American League West

A's

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Grant Balfour
Original guess for closer on September 15: Grant Balfour

Like Greg Holland, Balfour is one of the most underrated closers in the game.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Again, no revisions here. I'm sticking with Balfour, who has given up an earned run in just one of his appearances since June 1.

Rangers

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Joe Nathan
Original guess for closer on September 15: Joakim Soria

The original thinking here was a little outside-of-the-box: the Rangers, slipping out of playoff contention, would make a move sending Nathan -- a free agent, outside of having a team option for next year -- off to another team for some younger parts.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: I'll be bland and say it's Nathan. The Rangers look like buyers in the Matt Garza sweepstakes and currently hold the second wild card spot. This was never about Nathan's talent, just about a bad prediction on Texas' 2013.

Mariners

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Tom Wilhelmsen
Original guess for closer on September 15: Tom Wilhelmsen

We were sweating this one out a little bit, but Wilhelmsen basically snagged the closer job back just before the break, getting a flawless save on July 14.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: This has not been a very good run for Wilhelmsen -- a 7.82 ERA in his last 13 appearances. But he's benefiting from not having anyone in the bullpen challenging him for saves. Oliver Perez looked formidable, but he's probably going to be used in lefty/lefty situations. And Yoervis Medina never seemed to really slot into the closer role. Maybe the Mariners sell off some bats to a contender for a reliever (Joba Chamberlain?) who could supplant Wilhelmsen, but I'm going to roll the dice, shrug, and say Wilhelmsen remains the closer in September.

Astros

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Jose Veras
Original guess for closer on September 15: Josh Fields

Veras has 18 saves for a rebuilding Houston team. His 1.07 WHIP and 9.6 K/9 have made him a decent saves option in most leagues.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Veras has a team option for 2014, and he's proven that he can get the job done when called upon at the end of a game. I can see how he'd be attractive to a contender in need of bullpen help, but the Astros can very well hold on to him and exercise next year's option. So I'll give up on the Fields idea and guess that Houston sticks with Veras.

Angels

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Ryan Madson
Actual closer at the ASB: Ernesto Frieri
Original guess for closer on September 15: Ryan Madson

This was a major whiff for the CloserTron on several levels.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Even though all signs pointed to Madson coming back in May or June -- and it was essentially an open secret that he would take over as closer from Frieri -- Madson hit setback after frustrating set back on his path back to the majors. The result? Frieri is still the closer, and will likely remain in the role through the end of the season.

National League East

Braves

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Craig Kimbrel
Original guess for closer on September 15: Craig Kimbrel

I feel a little better about the Ryan Madson thing now.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Kimbrel has given up one earned run since May 7, while saving 16 games in that span. He is as solid a closer as any in MLB.

Nationals

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Drew Storen
Actual closer at the ASB: Rafael Soriano
Original guess for closer on September 15: Rafael Soriano

Storen was originally trotted out to show that Davey Johnson, in almost every season up to 2013, had used his non-closer relievers for a significant (six-ish) amount of saves.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Storen does have two saves this season, so we were kind of right, but the expectation here was Johnson would be giving out many more chances. Soriano is still the team's closer, and will be in September, but even if Johnson doles out a few more saves to the rest of his bullpen in order to keep Soriano fresh, there's no guarantee that Storen -- whose ERA has ballooned to 4.81 after two rough outings earlier this month -- gets the call.Tyler Clippard may have passed him on the closer depth chart.

Mets

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Bobby Parnell
Original guess for closer on September 15: Bobby Parnell

Huzzah!

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Despite crazy trade rumors, Parnell will likely stick with the Mets. And if the logic of holding onto a cheap, solid reliever under team control until 2016 doesn't make sense, then give this WSJ story on the terrible history of closers being traded a read.

Phillies

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Jonathan Papelbon
Original guess for closer on September 15: Jonathan Papelbon

Even though there's a small chance he's no longer a member of the Phillies past the trade deadline, Papelbon will be one of the few closers in recent years who moves to a new team and still get saves.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: It's a no-lose proposition with Papelbon -- either he remains closer for the Phillies (the likely scenario) or he's getting saves with his new team.

Marlins

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Steve Cishek
Original guess for closer on September 15: David Aardsma

CloserTron and I would like to argue that the theory -- Cishek could be traded away if he had a good first half -- was sound.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Just writing this column, it's pretty apparent that the closer trade market is pretty saturated right now, so the Marlins may not be too aggressive in shopping a player under their control for four more seasons if they're going to get low-balled. I'll guess that Cishek is still closer by September 15, just based on what the current market looks like.

Reds

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Aroldis Chapman
Original guess for closer on September 15: Aroldis Chapman

Chapman has become an elite source of saves.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Like Kimbrel and Rivera, Chapman is a start-every-week force who will lose his job only to injury.

Cardinals

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Edward Mujica
Original guess for closer on September 15: Brian Wilson

I think the important lesson we've learned here, with Madson, Soria, and Wilson, is that closers coming back from Tommy John surgery are not going to be in the mix for saves that season. Joe Nathan (2011) is the exception to the rule, and even he didn't start racking up the saves until mid-July after an early-season stumble.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Edward Mujica has become the 2013 version of Eddie Guardado. I'm not seeing too many reasons to doubt him at this point. In case of injury, though, I'd probably roster Trevor Rosenthal, who has become a stud in holds formats.

Cubs

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Kyuji Fujikawa
Actual closer at the ASB: Kevin Gregg
Original guess for closer on September 15: Carlos Marmol

Um...

Revised guess at closer on September 15: How about Pedro Strop? Kevin Gregg seems like a slam-dunk trade candidate, and Strop looks like a man reborn with the Cubs -- not allowing an earned run in his first seven appearances, striking out a batter per inning, and sporting a 0.67 WHIP. Strop looks like he's back in 2011/2012 form, when he had a 2.34 ERA and almost a striekout per inning.

Pirates

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Jason Grilli
Original guess for closer on September 15: Jason Grilli

Grilli has exceeded any and every expectation for 2013.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: He's clawing at the Rivera/Kimbrel/Chapman ceiling. That's how good Grilli has been. And it's all thanks to Gary Sheffield.

Brewers

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: John Axford
Actual closer at the ASB: Francisco Rodriguez
Original guess for closer on September 15: John Axford

Most Added Relievers (as of 7/19)
Player % change
1. Chad Gaudin, RP, Gaints 12
2. Brad Ziegler, RP, Diamondbacks 11
3. Koji Uehara, RP, Red Sox 8
4. Hector Santiago, RP, White Sox 5
5. Chris Perez, RP, Indians 4
6. Alex Wood, RP, Braves 4
7. Tom Gorzelanny, RP, Brewers 4
8. Brandon Workman, RP, Red Sox 4
9. Joaquin Benoit, RP, Tigers 3
10. Grant Balfour, RP, Athletics 2

In the CloserTron's defense, the logic -- that Axford would straighten himself out and take the closer role back from Jim Henderson -- was sound. And almost came true.The problem is that Rodriguez -- an x-factor that many of us didn't see coming in early May -- took the job from Henderson instead.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: I'd actually stick with Axford here. Rodriguez has lots of deadline-trade potential, and Henderson has a 4.50 ERA since coming off the DL on June 9. Axford, meanwhile, has given up one earned run since May 15. He's 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA and has struck out about a batter per inning in that span. Axford may have nudged his way ahead of Henderson in the closer pecking order.

National League West

Giants

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Sergio Romo
Original guess for closer on September 15: Sergio Romo

Romo's probably going to rise up to that "top closer" tier in next year's drafts. I think there was still a little trepidation this season because of the flip-flopping with Santiago Casilla for a bit last year.

Revised guess at closer on September 15:It's Romo all the way here. Although you might see Heath Hembree get a September call-up (despite the step back he's taken this year in Triple-A) and get a few save chances, just so the team can see what they have, assuming the Giants continue to languish at the bottom of the West standings.

Diamondbacks

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: J.J. Putz
Actual closer at the ASB: Brad Ziegler
Original guess for closer on September 15: Heath Bell

Things here got very messy, very fast. Although points awarded for correctly identifying Heath Bell as Putz's successor.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: Of course, Bell stepped in early, was great for a little while, then had a stretch of five straight games with a home run allowed. Brad Ziegler has three of the team's last four saves, and there really isn't much of a reason to move him out of the role, outside of, "Bell and Putz having saved games before." I'll ride the darkhorse here and say Ziegler is the closer in mid-September. And my backup would be a mysterious third-party closer that the team trades for, as Putz having to build up arm strength doesn't sound encouraging, and I'm not sure the team can trust Bell to avoid those ugly stretches as they try to hold off the surging Dodgers.

Dodgers

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Brandon League
Actual closer at the ASB: Kenley Jansen
Original guess for closer on September 15: Brandon League

Money took a backseat to a spark with the Dodgers, as League's big contract was put aside in favor of Jansen, who is one of the better closers in the game right now.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: As long as his health issues are behind him, Jansen is a stud, with a low ERA and WHIP, and a ton of strikeouts. League can still close games, so maybe he's traded if the Dodgers agree to eat some of his contract, but this is Jansen's job for the rest of the season.

Rockies

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Rafael Betancourt
Original guess for closer on September 15: Rex Brothers

Brothers actually stepped in for an injured Betancourt and proved he could be a solid closer in the majors. Forget about all this "since June 7" or "beginning on May 23" stuff -- Brothers' ERA on the season is 0.91.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: What scares me about sticking with Brothers (which I'm doing) is that the Rockies have gone on wild late-season runs before, and they'll be playing at full-force, with Troy Tulowitzki back in the lineup. The whole idea behind Brothers taking over was Betancourt being traded as the team fell out of contention. So as long as the Rockies stay below .500, Brothers is a nice add for teams speculating on saves.

Padres

Original guess for closer at the All-Star break: Huston Street
Original guess for closer on September 15: Huston Street

Street isn't having the greatest season of his career -- his 4.15 ERA is glaringly sub-par -- but he does have a lot of potential to shine after the All-Star break.

Revised guess at closer on September 15: I'm going with Street, despite the fact he hasn't gotten a save in almost a month (his last was on June 21). The Padres are going to play a lot of close games and Street has shown skill as a closer in the past. Signed through 2014, Street should avoid all trade rumors and stick with the team through the end of the year.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts reaches base three times Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:57 am ET) Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts had the goods and bads in Thursday's loss to the Rangers. Bogaerts reached base safely in all three plate appearances, going 2 for 2 with a walk. He has a hit four straight games and has reached base in eight of his last nine. Since May 10, he has seen his season average rise more than 20 points from .250 to its current .271 clip.

But, Bogaerts did commit his third error of the season, and also ran into some back luck on the basepaths, literally. 

With teammate Daniel Nava at the plate in the bottom of the fifth, Bogaerts was on first base with one out. He took off trying to steal second, but Nava swung and tapped the ball to the right side, which clipped Bogaerts on the foot as he was running. Bogaerts was ruled out, and a strikeout by the next batter ended the rally for Boston.

"Probably the play there when I tried to steal and the ball hit me, that was probably the game-changer," said Bogaerts, per MLB.com. "I never knew, I was never aware the ball touched me until I came back down and I saw the video, it might've just scratched the bottom of my heel or something like that, but I never know it hit me at all."


Brewers' Counsell: It's 'probably likely' Will Smith will be suspended
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:46 am ET) Brewers reliever Will Smith is likely facing a suspension for being ejected Thursday night for having a foreign substance discovered on his forearm, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel.

"That's pretty real," said manager Craig Counsell, when asked if he is expecting a suspension. "We know that's probably likely."

Smith was tossed by crew chief Jim Joyce in the seventh inning of Thursday's 10-1 loss to the Braves after Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez asked officials to examine the glistening substance on his forearm.

After the game, Smith revealed that he had a mixture of sunscreen and rosin on his arm while warming up in the bullpen, and acknowledged he forgot to wipe it off after he was summoned to replace Matt Garza in the seventh inning because he was in a hurry.

Counsell noted that players everywhere in the league, including some on the Braves do the same thing to improve their grip on the ball.

"It happens everywhere in the league, and it happens on (Gonzalez's) team, too," Counsell said.

In 2012, Joel Peralta, who was with the Rays at the time, was slapped with an eight-game suspension for using pine tar to improve his grip. Last season, Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball after he was caught using pine tar in an April game against Boston. Because Pineda's incident was more recent, Smith could be facing a suspension close to 10 games.

"Who knows? That's MLB's decision. It's not my call," Smith said.


Mets LF Michael Cuddyer could be finding his way at the plate
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:39 am ET) Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer had his first three-hit game of the season in Thursday's win over the Cardinals. Cuddyer reached safely in all four of his plate appearances, going 3 for 3 (all singles) with a walk. 

The veteran outfielder has gotten off to a rather slow start at the plate for his new team, but he may be starting to turn things around. He's reached base safely via a hit or a walk in each of his last seven games, batting .346 during that span. 

“I feel a little better,’’ Cuddyer said after the game, per the New York Post. “I don’t really tinker with mechanics too much. There’s a few things you I can do in the cage that will free you up a little bit, and we’re getting you that point. But ultimately, you look at the box score, and that’s how you say if a guy is hot or not.’’

Cuddyer hasn't homered since May 1, so the power hasn't quite been there for him yet. But the team is happy to see Cuddyer improving.

“Cuddy’s hitting the ball well. He hit the ball well [Wednesday] night, but right at them," Mets first baseman Lucas Duda said. "I think we’re getting rolling here offensively, and that will just help us. It should be fun.’’


Astros' Jon Singleton has 27 RBI in last 10 games at Triple-A
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:30 am ET) Astros first baseman Jon Singleton homered again Thursday for Triple-A Fresno, giving him six in his last 10 games and a minor-league leading 13 on the season. Singleton also has 44 RBI in 39 games, with 27 coming in his last 10 games.

"He's locked in right now. He's been having great at-bats, swinging at good pitches," Fresno teammate Carlos Correa said, per MiLB.com. "He's doing the work he needs to do to be successful on the field, and he can be proud of what he's bringing to the table. He's going to bring a lot to the Houston Astros eventually."

Singleton is batting .295 with a .406 on-base percentage, .651 slugging percentage and 1.056 OPS this season.


Astros prospect Carlos Correa thriving after Triple-A promotion
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:19 am ET) Astros shortstop prospect Carlos Correa has had a pretty smooth transition from Double-A to Triple-A. 

He homered for a second straight game Thursday and has hit safely in eight of nine games since his promotion. He has multihit games in five of his last six appearances.

The highly touted prospect is batting .326 with a .558 slugging percentage, .920 OPS, two home runs, four doubles and seven RBI in nine games since joining Fresno.

"I think I've gotten stronger these last two games -- I'm just kidding,"Correa said after Thursday's game, per MiLB.com. "I've just been trying to drive the ball, and I've seen some fastballs up in the zone."

Correa's home run Thursday came off former AL Cy Young award winner Barry Zito.

"It was really fun [facing Zito]," Correa said. "I've seen that guy pitch a lot at the big league level, and I've even played [as] him in video games, because I'm a video game guy. I have a lot of respect for him, and it was fun to play against him as a competitor."


Yankees SS Didi Gregorius looking to improve offense in 2015
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:15 am ET) Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has had a rough go of it in 2015, his first season in New York. Through 35 games, Gregorius is batting just .214 with just four doubles on the year. He has been getting the bulk of the playing time at shortstop, sharing time with Stephen Drew. But Gregorius just hasn't been able to figure things out at the plate.

"I don't feel it, but who knows?" Gregorius said, according the New York Post. "You never know. Maybe I start hitting all of a sudden. I just keep working hard in the cage. That's how it all starts."

And his defense hasn't exactly lived up either. He four errors so far this year, after committing just six all of last year. 

“I didn’t come here to fail. “You always want to succeed.”


Rays OF Steven Souza racks up four strikeouts on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:55 am ET) Rays outfielder Steven Souza had a rough day at the office on Thursday. In the 3-0 win over the A's, Souza went 0 for 4 and struck out four times. It's the third time this month that Souza has worn the "Golden Sombrero".

With the poor performance on Thursday, Souza's season average was dropped to .225 as he has had a tough start to the year offensively. His 62 strikeouts this season are currently the most among American League hitters.


Tigers LF Yoenis Cespedes lacking power, but not hits in 2015
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:48 am ET) Tigers left fielder Yoenis Cespedes reached base in all five plate-appearances in Thursday's win over the Astros. He went 3 for 3 with a double, walked twice and scored twice in the victory. That makes back-to-back three-hit games for the first-year Tiger, and four such performances in his last seven games. 

In fact, Cespedes has hit safely in nine of his last 12 games, and all nine games have been multi-hit performances. 

He also stole a bag for the second consecutive game, giving him threesteals on the season, all coming in the past week. 

Cespedes has had a rather interesting start to his tenure in Detroit. He hasn't hit for much power, with just five home runs on the year. But his 15 doubles are tops in the American League and he has an even .300 batting average entering play on Friday, despite his career .266 mark.


Red Sox P Matt Barnes adjusting to life in the bullpen
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:33 am ET) Despite the fact that Red Sox rookie pitcher Matt Barnes was drafted as a starter, he has made 11 relief appearances in his brief Major League career, which started in 2014. Barnes has yet to start a big league game, and he may wind up being a reliever long-term for the Red Sox. But Barnes would be just fine with that.

“Right now, I’m not sure about (starting) because I’ve been doing one thing and I’m satisfied with what I’m doing right now,” said Barnes, per the Boston Herald. “I’m available to do anything and I’ll do anything the team needs me to do.”

Barnes, who was drafted 19th overall in 2011, is 2-0 and has allowed just one earned run in six appearances this year. And though he is currently blocked by Koji Uehara as a potential closer, manager John Farrell hasn't shied away from using Barnes as a late-inning option out of the bullpen.

“We brought him into high-leverage situations and there’s a reason we brought him into those situations," Farrell said. "Late in the game, you are looking at guy who can ideally control the running game and he’s got the ability to get a strikeout.”


Rays' Matt Moore to pitch in extended spring training Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:47 am ET) Rays pitcher Matt Moore is scheduled to throw 35 to 40 pitches in two innings of work during an extended spring training game on Saturday, the Tampa Tribune reports.

Moore had no issues after Wednesday's bullpen session, putting him line to take the next step on Saturday. He was limited to just two starts last season before undergoing Tommy John surgery.


 
 
 
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