McAdam: Closing options could be dwindling

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McAdam: Closing options could be dwindling

While the Red Sox seemingly endless search for a new manager continues, the team's roster needs have gone unaddressed.

Other than offering salary arbitration to David Ortiz and Dan Wheeler and losing free agent Jonathan Papelbon to the Philadelphia Phillies, the team has seem stuck in place since its season ended so ignominiously on September 28.

The winter meetings begin Monday in Dallas, by which time the team will finally have a manager in place. In the meantime, the club's options for replacements for Papelbon seem to be dwindling.

Two closers in whom the Sox had shown some interest have already signed elsewhere. Joe Nathan agreed to a two-year, 14.5 million deal with the Texas Rangers and Jonathan Broxton signed a one-year, 4 million deal plus incentives Tuesday morning with the Kansas City Royals.

Both were attractive to the Red Sox because they had enjoyed success as closers for playoff teams and were seen as relatively affordable because they were coming off injury concerns. Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2010 while Broxton appeared in just 14 games last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers before undergoing a surgical procedure to remove bone spurs in his right elbow.

Nathan was apparently determined to pitch in Texas. As for Broxton, the Sox had made contact with his agent before the pitcher's decision to accept a deal with the Royals, with the Sox sending the message that they weren'tyet ready to move aggressively on the closer.

It's unknown how much -- if any -- of that decision was driven by their
focus on a manager, or whether the Sox don't want to make a significant pitching acquisition before choosing a manager and pitching coach.

To be sure, there are still a number of options remaining on the free agents market, including Heath Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Matt Capps, Frank Francisco, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson.

Many of these options would seem to be have circumstances or demands that would not make them a good fit for the Red Sox. Bell, for example, has made it known that he would prefer to remain in southern California. And Madson is said to be looking for a deal similar to the one he nearly signed to return to the Phillies (four years, 44 million) before the Phils abruptly shifted gears and opted for Papelbon instead.

If the Sox weren't willing to make that kind of long-term commitment to Papelbon, it's inconceivable that they would do so for Madson, since the two are essentially the same age, though Madson has far less experience closing than does Papelbon.

There are trade options, too, in the closer market. Colorado has let it be known that Huston Street is available and the Sox have at least made initial inquiries with the Rockies.

The danger for the Sox is, that following the Nathan and Broxton signings, a run on closers could begin, leaving the Sox on the sideline, either unwilling or unprepared to move quickly.

Red Sox call up RHP Cuevas, send Marrero to Pawtucket

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Red Sox call up RHP Cuevas, send Marrero to Pawtucket

With the Red Sox bullpen taxed in recent days with a extra-inning game and a short outing Friday night by starter David Price, right-hander William Cuevas was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket and infielder Deven Marrero was sent down.

Cuevas, 25, made one relief appearance for Boston (allowing two runs on three hits in 2 1/3 innings in his major league debut April 21) and had been starting at Pawtucket (4-3, 3.30 ERA in 12 starts). He pitched 5 1/3 innings on Sunday. He'll be available out of the bullpen tonight as the Red Sox continue their three-game series in Texas. 

Marrero, 25, appeared in four games and went 1-for-7 in his latest stint in Boston.
 

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox make 'outstanding comeback' vs. Rangers

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox make 'outstanding comeback' vs. Rangers

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers:

QUOTES

* “(Matt) Bush has tremendous arm, but what we’ve seen . . . I don’t know that there’s anyone that throws a hard enough to get it by Mookie [Betts]. Just lightening bat speed . . . The dugout erupted when he caught it.” - Farrell said on Betts’ ninth inning homerun.

* “It was an outstanding comeback. Just a tremendous character win tonight by our guys. The work that our bullpen did tonight was just outstanding. ” - John Farrell said following the comeback win over Texas.

* “Koji comes back after a couple of rough outings and was vintage Koji here tonight.” - Farrell said on Uehara striking out the side in the ninth to earn the save

* “The homerun. Without that homerun, you don’t get to that wild pitch.” - Jackie Bradley said on what the Red Sox dugout was more excited about in the ninth.

* “Winning, to me that’s everything. I definitely want to go out there and throw the baseball better. I want to win myself. But at the end of the day I want the Red Sox to win.” - David Price said following the Red Sox win, despite his inability to keep the game close throughout the duration of his start.

NOTES

* David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his fourth inning single. He’s now 12 for his last 36 during his 10-game hitting streak.

* Sandy Leon’s ninth inning double was his 12th hit of the year. He’s now 12-for-22 (.545) to start his 2016 campaign. Four of his hits are doubles and he also has four RBI. 

* David Price’s 2.1-inning start is his shortest with Boston yet. The lefty gave up a season-worst 12 hits -- the most hits he’s given up since May 8th last season in a 6.1 inning start.

* Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homerun marks his third in the last ten games.

* The Red Sox improve to 22-3 when Jackie Bradley Jr. hits a homerun following his 13th homerun of the season.

STARS

1) Mookie Betts

Betts had over three hours between his two base hits, but his second proved the most important. He launched a 2-0 fastball into left center, tying the game in the ninth.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley laced a homerun into the right field second deck to put Boston in striking distance at 7-4. In addition to knocking in two runs, he scored in the ninth after he walked, starting the ninth inning comeback. 

3) Koji Uehara

Despite struggling of late, Uehara was called on to close and struck out the side to seal the win. He was the final piece of the 6.2 innings of relief from the bullpen that came in one of Boston’s biggest wins of the year.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar