D-backs Relievers React to Closer Decision

The roles continue to be defined for the Arizona Diamondbacks. In recent days, Pat Corbin was named the Opening Day starter, Yasmany Tomas was optioned to Triple-A, the club traded for Deven Marrero and Ketel Marte signed a five-year extension.

Then came the bullpen. 

Entering spring training, the back of the bullpen was a frequent topic of discussion. Last year’s closer Fernando Rodney was out and Brad Boxberger and Yoshi Hirano were added to the closer field, joining incumbent eighth-inning man Archie Bradley.

On Tuesday, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo announced Boxberger will handle closing duties while Bradley will take on the same role he did last year.

“I’m excited for the opportunity, definitely honored to have the opportunity to close here and looking forward to it,” Boxberger said. 

In 2015, Boxberger notched 41 saves, fourth most in the league that year, with the Tampa Bay Rays. He said that experience can help him in 2017 with his new team.

“Being in the situation, it that role before, there’s nothing like getting those last three outs in the game,” Boxberger said. “So there’s a lot of stuff that can happen, it’s just a matter of being able to control the situation, and whatever happens, just being able to control it and close the game down.”

Bradley will assume the setup role with the capability to throw multiple innings, a space he dominated last year with a 1.73 earned run average with 79 strikeouts in 73 innings. While closing was a goal for Bradley, he is looking to the Diamondbacks’ Tuesday opponent, as a frame of reference.

“We’re facing a guy on the other side, (Cleveland Indians reliever) Andrew Miller, who’s kind of doing what I want to do,” Bradley said. “I got to learn a little bit last year, have some success, and now I’m just looking to build on it and try to help this team win.”

The Diamondbacks start off their regular season on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies.