March 28, 2019 / 1:07 AM / 3 months ago

Red Sox name starters, decline to set closer for opener

Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale (41) pitches in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

The Boston Red Sox gave out all the information needed on who will start the season opener Thursday at Seattle, but they would not commit to somebody that would potentially end it.

Alex Cora, the manager of the World Series champions, said Wednesday the team’s plan for a closer would be evident in the coming days.

“I’m not going to name a closer. I’ve been saying it all along,” Cora told reporters in advance of the opening game against the Mariners. “I don’t think there’s a structure or a script you have to follow. (Thursday) people will see what we’re going to do. I feel fine. I’m OK with it.”

Chris Sale will start Thursday’s game. That much was known. Cora revealed the rest of his opening day lineup, with Andrew Benintendi leading off in left field, followed by right fielder Mookie Betts and third baseman Rafael Devers.

Designated hitter J.D. Martinez was the cleanup hitter, followed by shortstop Xander Bogaerts and first baseman Mitch Moreland. Eduardo Nunez at second base, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Christian Vazquez at catcher round out the lineup.

Craig Kimbrel was the Red Sox’ closer last year, saving 42 games, but left via free agency. He remains available on the open market.

Cora sounds as if he will be creative with the back end of his bullpen, as opposed to defining roles to start the season.

“People get caught up on the whole usage and high-leverage, and not getting locked in with a closer,” Cora said. “Every game is different. Every out is different. A high-leverage situation for me might be different than for you. That’s the beauty of the game.”

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