BOSTON — LHP David Price is more likely to be used as a closer in the playoffs than a starter, Red Sox manager John Farrell said Tuesday.
While the pitching rotation for the AL Division Series against the Astros hasn't been set beyond LHPs Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz in Games 1 and 2, Farrell said none of the scenarios he is considering involve the former Rays ace as a starter.
"At this point, no," Farrell said plainly. But when asked whether he would consider using closer Craig Kimbrel in a spot other than finishing the game, Farrell said: "The addition of David Price, let's face it, it has changed the dynamic of our bullpen.
"Two or three guys (are) interchangeable at the highest leveraged spots. And that includes David being one of those."
The Astros will start RHP Justin Verlander in Game 1 and LHP Dallas Keuchel in Game 2.
Also, Indians manager Terry Francona pulled a bit of a surprise, naming RHP Trevor Bauer, not ace RHP Corey Kluber, as his Game 1 starter in the American League Division Series. Francona said the Indians like the way their pitching can be lined up with Bauer starting Game 1 and Kluber starting Game 2. RHP Carlos Carrasco will start Game 3.
Twins lose Buxton
Twins CF Byron Buxton was pulled during the fourth inning of the AL wild-card game against the Yankees because of tightness in his back. Zack Granite replaced him. Buxton grimaced in pain after crashing into the fence on a highlight-reel catch of Todd Frazier's drive in the second. The Yankees led 7-4 in the seventh.
Speeding things up
Commissioner Rob Manfred is hopeful the league and players' union will agree to changes to speed pace of play. Manfred said that he's encouraged by conversations with the union and "direct engagement with players." He declined to address specifics of a deal but said he thinks the league and union will have an agreement that will be "meaningful." The average time of a nine-inning game in the majors rose 4½ minutes this season to a record 3 hours, 5 minutes, 11 seconds.
. The Blue Jays will decline their mutual option on OF Jose Bautista, making the six-time All-Star a free agent.
. The Mets announced that longtime pitching coach Dan Warthen will not return in that role but was offered another job in the organization.
. Cardinals pitching coach Derek Lilliquist and bullpen coach Blaise Ilsley will not return.
. The Mariners will not bring back bench coach Tim Bogar and first-base coach Casey Candaele.
. Royals LHP Danny Duffy had surgery to remove loose debris in his pitching elbow and is expected to resume his normal offseason training in about six weeks.