DETROIT -- The Boston Red Sox named Koji Uehara their closer Friday, replacing the struggling Andrew Bailey.
"I can't say there won't be the need that we use other guys, but where we are today, Koji will close out if we get in that situation tonight," Red Sox manager John Farrell said prior to Friday night's game against the Detroit Tigers. "I think we're very confident when he walks out to the mound. He's had success in closing opportunities, so there's not only an element of dependability but success in the past that we're turning to."
Uehara had 13 saves in 201 with the Baltimore Orioles. He also had 32 saves while in Japan in 2007.
More recently, he had one save last year with the Texas Rangers and has one this season for the Red Sox.
"I'm not going to change anything," Uehara said through a translator Friday. "I'll do my best about going on with my business."
In 30 innings of work this season, Uehara has 42 strikeouts and just seven walks, including two intentional.
"We're staying internal right now," Farrell said. "I know Ben [Cherington, general manager] is always on the lookout to improve the team within reason. So for the time being we're staying with who we have."
The move comes after Bailey blew his third save in his last five tries Thursday night, giving up a two-run homer to Detroit's Jhonny Peralta in the bottom of the ninth of a 4-3 loss.
"It's just kind of giving me a little breather," Bailey said Friday. "It's understandable for sure. I wasn't doing the job, and I totally get it. One bad week doesn't necessarily make a bad year. The way I was throwing the ball at the beginning, then I missed some time, having a rough go at it right now. Doesn't mean it's been a bad year by any chance.
"I fully believe I'm the guy here to do that job. Right now they're going to go with someone else for a little bit, but I don't think it's a permanent thing. Anything can happen, and I'm fully aware of that. I feel like this is my job. I've got confidence I'll be back in there. I've just got to throw the ball like I can."
Farrell will monitor Uehara closely as chances to save games arise.
"Hopefully we have save opportunities every night," Farrell said. "If he's not available we have confidence it could be Junichi [Tazawa], it could be Andrew Miller and in time Andrew Bailey."
Farrell's decision to go with Uehara was mainly based on his experience of closing out games before.
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