Red Sox

Dave Dombrowski "happy" with Red Sox roster despite bullpen concerns

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Dave Dombrowski "happy" with Red Sox roster despite bullpen concerns

The Boston Red Sox don't have a closer with spring training about to begin, but the architect of the team's roster still feels pretty good about where things stand.

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski didn't add any marquee free agents to his roster over the winter, and he has yet to find a replacement for star closer Craig Kimbrel, who remains unsigned on the free agent market. However, Dombrowski is content with the group that will open the 2019 season.

"We are happy with where our roster is," Dombrowski said Monday on NESN's "Red Sox From Fort Myers" show. "We're in a position where, basically, positonal player-wise we have the same club back. Starting pitching-wise we really have everybody back. Bullpen, of course, is the one area which will get a lot of discussion and I'm sure will be focused on by people. But we like a lot of our arms and a lot of our people out there. But basically the club is back -- we know we should have a good club unless something happens where you get decimated by injury but you hope that never takes place. We have the foundation of having a good club, and I think they'll be prepared to come back and battle and see if we can try to repeat."

Plenty of star players are still available in free agency, including Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Kimbrel. The chances of the Red Sox signing any of those players are pretty small, however.

"I would say we're exploring, but not big-name free agents," Dombrowski said. "They're more apt to be a big-league invite on a minor-league contract to try to come in and compete. Of course, we'll scout during spring training. That'll be one of our focuses, our bullpen people with other organizations. But the reality is every club has an area you're probably going to address, that's the one area with ours that sticks out. But we like our people in camp, and we think they can do the job for us."

Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Tyler Thornburg and perhaps Steven Wright are among the best in-house options to be Boston's next closer. The job definitely is open entering spring training, and it could be that way into the regular season as Red Sox manager Alex Cora gets a feel for who does a good job handling the pressure of the ninth inning. 

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Alex Cora: 'We've got to keep going' after Chris Sale's injury

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Alex Cora: 'We've got to keep going' after Chris Sale's injury

The Boston Red Sox won on the field Saturday night, as they defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-0. However, they lost off the field, as Chris Sale was placed on the 10-day IL with left elbow inflammation. Dr. James Andrews is going to be looking at Sale's MRI in the coming days and Sale could meet with the noted orthopedic surgeon. So, this injury could keep him out long term.

After the Red Sox win, manager Alex Cora opened up about Sale's injury and said that the Red Sox have "got to keep going" even with their ace sidelined.

"We've got to keep going," Cora said on NESN's postgame coverage. "That's the way it is. We'll find out more during the upcoming days. But as of now, somebody has to step up. That's the way it works in this business. And we know it."

Right now, it's unclear exactly how the Red Sox will replace Sale. They have already been operating without David Price, but he could return to the squad soon.

Meanwhile, it appears that Cora is ready to reintroduce Nathan Eovaldi to the starting rotation. Eovaldi began the year as a starter before missing a few months with an injury. After a month in the bullpen, he will finally make his return to the rotation. And Cora is confident that Eovaldi will fare well in that role.

We'll soon see how Sale's injury impacts the Red Sox. But with the team sitting 6.5 games back in the Wild Card race, it will be crucial for them to a find a way to stay afloat with a makeshift rotation if they want to make it back to the postseason.

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Alex Cora confident in Nathan Eovaldi getting back to speed as a starter

Alex Cora confident in Nathan Eovaldi getting back to speed as a starter

The Boston Red Sox have some problems in their starting rotation and they were further exacerbated when Chris Sale hit the IL with left elbow inflammation. Sale, mired in a frustrating season, will be out for at least 10 days and according to Dave Dombrowski, Dr. James Andrews is going to take a look at Sale's MRI in the coming days.

In addition to Sale's injury, David Price is on the 10-day IL with a wrist injury and Andrew Cashner was shifted to the bullpen after he struggled immensely as a starter with the Red Sox. Now, the team is going to have to rely on some other members of their staff to carry the load. And one of those guys may be Nathan Eovaldi.

Before Saturday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles, Red Sox manager Alex Cora expressed confidence in Eovaldi's ability to return to the starting rotation.

"We feel he can be really quick" to get back to speed, Cora said per Matt Porter of The Boston Globe. "Obviously it would be cool to have 10 pitches, 10 strikes, three outs. We know where he’s at physically . . . he’s in a good spot."

Eovaldi had opened the season as a starter in the Red Sox' rotation, but he was sidelined for a few months by "loose bodies" in his elbow. The team brought him back to serve as a reliever but are in the process of stretching him back out given the need the team has in the rotation.

As a starter this season, Eovaldi has logged a 0-0 record and 6.00 ERA in four outings all of which came in April. He will return to the starting rotation on Sunday and will hope to build upon his recent success (2.53 ERA, 13 strikeouts in his last eight outings, 10 2/3 innings).

In addition to Eovaldi's return, Price was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday. So, perhaps he will come back soon and help bolster the team's depleted rotation.

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