Tazawa to continue getting ninth-inning call

Despite struggles, club sees benefit in righty gaining experience

Tazawa to continue getting ninth-inning call

CHICAGO -- Though Junichi Tazawa has struggled to get the job done as a closer since Koji Uehara went down, Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo will continue to give him the ball in the ninth inning.

Most recently, Tazawa surrendered a 6-4 lead in the ninth inning against the Royals on Sunday.

Tazawa has pitched in seven games since Uehara sustained a broken right wrist, converting just two out of his five save opportunities while posting a 9.00 ERA.

"I think we're going to stay with Taz, for sure," said Lovullo. "We want to give him the ball in the ninth inning. Just because you might have a situation where you don't get the job done and don't execute, it wouldn't help him right now to just pull it away from him. That's not what we're about. We want to be consistent with what's happening every day and Taz is our closer and we like him in that situation. He just didn't get the job done yesterday."

The Red Sox think there is some long-term benefit to Tazawa gaining experience in the ninth.

"I think any time you can switch a role for a guy and see how he reacts to it, and responds to different situations with a different stimulus, you're able to get some more information on a guy," Lovullo said. "That's what we do here, as staff members, as front-office members, we try to get as much information as possible on a certain guy so we can make the best decisions for them moving forward."

Tazawa did not pitch in Monday's 5-4 victory over the White Sox after throwing 30 pitches on Sunday. Jean Machi gave up two runs in the ninth inning before closing out the series-opening win.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.