DETROIT -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that, with Andrew Bailey sidelined for the first half of the season due to surgery on his right thumb, Alfredo Aceves will serve as the Sox' closer at the start of the season. Mark Melancon will be the alternate closer on days when Aceves is not available.
"He loves competition. I think he's one of the better competitors that I've seen," Valentine said of Aceves. "I could be wrong. I haven't seen him up close and personal in battle, but I believe that he's a very good competitor, to say nothing of a very good pitcher."
Valentine said that the decision was made based on what he saw this spring in the pitchers, as well as based on the familiarity of the American League. The Sox skipper added that he would "of course" be open to using Aceves for saves of more than three outs "if necessary."
With Bailey out, the Sox will open the year with 13 pitchers on the roster. Vicente Padilla, Scott Atchison and Justin Thomas -- all of whom signed minor league deals with the Sox this winter -- will have their contracts selected for addition to the 25-man roster. Michael Bowden will also be on the team, joining Aceves, Melancon, Franklin Morales and Matt Albers in the bullpen.
"Obviously what we’re doing here without Andrew Bailey has not been totally planned for, so we’re going to try to protect the other members of the bullpen as we iron out this entire situation," said Valentine. "I don’t expect to be 13 the entire season, or possibly not even for the homestand, but it could be."
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