At the start, the problem for the Tampa Bay Rays may be closing.
The Rays have lost all-star closer Brad Boxberger, whose 41 saves led the American League in 2015. Boxberger had surgery to repair an abdominal muscle injury and will miss eight weeks. That would keep Boxberger sidelined for the season’s first month.
The Rays had depended heavily upon Boxberger. They traded away Jake McGee, their other reliever with extensive closing history. Instead, manager Kevin Cash said, the team will rely on a committee to close that will include Ryan Webb, Alex Colome, Danny Farquhar and Steve Geltz.
“It was an injury he thought was kind of an unknown. Initially we thought tight (hamstring),” Cash said. “But it was kind of like the abdominal abductor that was torn and they just went in to fix it. It was very unique in that it really wasn’t causing pain. It was just kind of a nag. But had we not got it fixed then it nags for a long time.”
Cash has talked of having his starters throw additional innnings this year.
Last year, Boxberger was a mixed bag. He had 10 losses and six blown saves, and his ERA was 3.71, which is high for a closer.