The Red Sox activated reliever Joel Hanrahan from the disabled list on Tuesday, but his status as the team's closer is in doubt.
Hanrahan has missed the last two weeks due to a hamstring injury. During his absence, Andrew Bailey has saved five games. Now, Red Sox General Manager John Farrell has indicated that Bailey might remain in the ninth inning despite Hanrahan's return, according to masslive.com.
In an interview with MLB Network Radio, Farrell had this to say about Hanrahan:
The one thing Joel is, he's honest with himself, and he understands what's going on here...But until I have a chance to sit down with him and talk with him directly and say 'Hey, I think this is maybe the way we should go for the short-term,' we'll probably wait until we meet in person here this afternoon.
The change in closer was later confirmed. Bailey will serve as the closer in Boston going forward, at least for the short term.
So far this season, Bailey, 28, has clearly been the better pitcher of the two. He has just a 1.46 ERA to go along with a monster 14.59 K/9. Hanrahan, 31, has allowed six runs in six games and has walked more batters than he has struck out thus far.
Both Hanrahan and Bailey were off season trade acquisitions for Boston. Bailey was acquired prior to the 2012 season from the Athletics, where he saved 75 games over three seasons and had a 2.22 ERA. The Red Sox traded Josh Reddick and two others for the rights to Bailey and Ryan Sweeney
Boston traded for Hanrahan last off season after he served as the Pittsburgh Pirates closer for two years. The Red Sox traded away four players for the rights to him. In his two full years closing games, he collected 76 saves and posted a 2.24 ERA.
It's possible that Hanrahan will be able to reclaim his place as closer with a strong performance going forward. However, if Andrew Bailey keeps pitching as well as he has this season, it's hard to see him relinquishing the ninth inning.
Josh Bard was demoted to Double-A yesterday to clear a roster spot for Hanrahan.