Ryan Brasier? Matt Barnes? Who will be counted on to fill the void left by Craig Kimbrel at closer this season?
That's the No. 1 question surrounding the Red Sox this spring, and it appears manager Alex Cora has an unconventional plan up his sleeve.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Cora implied the team could use multiple arms for the role throughout the year.
“It’s just a matter of, see what we’re going to do as an organization,” Cora said, per The Athletic’s Chad Jennings. “What plan we’re going to do, how comfortable are we with a closer or mixing it up? … Like I’ve been saying all along, we have people that are going to get people out late in games. We’ve just got to make sure everyone is healthy and ready to go for [Opening Day] March 28. If that’s the case, we’ll go one way or another, but I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do.”
Pitching coach Dana LeVangie mentioned the Red Sox could decide who takes the mound for the ninth by playing matchups.
“As long as they know [they’ll be pitching] somewhere [in the late innings],” pitching coach LeVangie said. “It could be [one pitcher] this day, depending on the lineup, and you get the ninth [on another day]. And I think we’re willing to do that. I think we have the guys to be able to do that.”
Both Brasier and Barnes are leading candidates to get the ninth-inning nod this year, but it's clear Cora would feel comfortable turning to other options if necessary, such as Heath Hembree, Steven Wright or Tyler Thornburg.
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