- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell didn’t wait long to name Koji Uehara the club’s closer for 2014.
“With the exception of any additional closer or other reliever added, I think we’re completely comfortable starting next year with Koji as our closer,” Farrell said.
Uehara began 2013 with a smaller role, but season-ending injuries to Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan thrust Uehara was into the closer’s job at the midway point of the season. It was a role he thrived in, putting up dominant numbers (101 strikeouts, a 1.09 ERA and a 0.57 WHIP in 74 1/3 innings in the regular season).
Like all of their players, the Red Sox baseball operations and training staffs will keep tabs on the 38-year-old Japanese import during the offseason.
“You get a feel for where they’re at physically when they leave here, which Koji will remain stateside for about another three or four weeks before he returns back home,” Farrell said. “He didn’t leave here with any physical ailments. He was extremely durable. We may look to alter next spring’s, to take into account he pitched a full extra month this year, so that might mean games about the mid-point of the [Grapefruit League] schedule next year just to make sure we take into account his age and workload.
“But we went into this spring with the same thought to be careful with his age and workload and he exceeded everything that we put in front of him. Thankfully he did.”