Scott Boras calls Brad Boxberger 'a good fit' with Rays

Brad Boxberger, who has struggled down the stretch and blamed it on overuse early in the season, is “a good fit” with the Rays, his agent says.
Brad Boxberger, who has struggled down the stretch and blamed it on overuse early in the season, is “a good fit” with the Rays, his agent says.
Published Sept. 25, 2015

BOSTON — Agent Scott Boras said RHP Brad Boxberger hasn't indicated any unhappiness with how he has been used by the Rays, and he considers the pairing "a good fit" though salary eventually may become an issue.

"(Manager Kevin) Cash has given him an opportunity and he's taken advantage of it and become an All-Star, and when you have things like that happen for a young player, you're in a good place," Boras said Tuesday while watching the Rays take batting practice at Fenway Park. "Obviously there might be some economics that might dictate how you may look at that (long term). But I think it's been a good fit for the Rays, and I think it's been a good fit for Box."

Though Boxberger told the Tampa Bay Times recently that his late struggles "could all be attributed" to how much the Rays used him in non-closing situations early in the season, Boras said they don't feel he was overused.

Plus, Boras said he expects the Rays to handle Boxberger differently in 2016 now that he has established himself as a closer, though that job is not guaranteed if Jake McGee is also back.

"I think his role is going to be a little more defined going into next year because every closer coming into the season when you're earning a role, you're going to throw in early innings and you're going to throw until you earn the role," Boras said. "So now knowing he has that role and pitching late in games, I think it's going to be a little bit easier to manage his situation."

Boras has studied models to produce a "closing paradigm" that show closers are best handled when limited to around 60-65 appearances and innings per season. Boxberger, after logging his 36th save Tuesday, has worked 582/3 innings in 64 games. "I think we're going to end up in those areas, so we should be fine," Boras said.

Boxberger is making $521,000 this season and would get only a slight hike in 2016 before the hefty increase that comes with arbitration eligibility in '17.

Boras also said OF Desmond Jennings' left knee was improving before his season was ended due to a severe tooth infection that could have been "systematic" and "debilitating," and he is "really looking forward to getting back and playing every day" next season.

CATCHING ON: C J.P. Arencibia will be limited for a few days as he deals with a strain on the back side of his left hand, a painful condition Cash referred to as "catcher's hand."

Arencibia said he hurt the hand when he lost the grip on his bat while swinging during the Sept. 7-9 series in Detroit and had been trying to manage it. Catching a pitch and/or swinging can be irritants.

"I would guess he's going to be feeling better in the next two days or so," Cash said. "But if he catches one ball awkward, it can really make it sore.''

Cash said the Rays are contemplating shutting down C Curt Casali, who has been working hard to recover from the left hamstring strain that has sidelined him since late August. "Unless he's 100 percent, I don't know how much sense it makes to get him back and risk straining the hamstring worse," Cash said.

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PITCHING IN: With RHP Nathan Karns' season over due to forearm tightness, LHP Matt Moore will stay in the rotation and is lined up to face ex-mate LHP David Price on Sunday in Toronto. … McGee will throw a simulated inning today in what he expects to be the last test of his surgically repaired left knee before rejoining the bullpen.

MISCELLANY: LF Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch for a team record-extending 20th time and made a strong throw to second for a key double play. … The Rays have scored five-plus runs in three straight games for the second time this month. … Gold Glove candidate CF Kevin Kiermaier was out of the lineup vs. Sox LHP Henry Owens. … The Rays have had a team-record 29 one-run losses. … At 3 hours and 47 minutes, Monday was the Rays' longest nine-inning game of the season.