Boxberger closes out season as AL saves leader

Boxberger closes out season as AL saves leader

ST. PETERSBURG -- Brad Boxberger did not pitch in the Rays' 12-3 win over the Blue Jays on Sunday, but he finished the season atop the American League with 41 saves.

Boxberger had one more save than Huston Street of the Angels to claim the crown in a season that saw him go 4-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 69 appearances and make the AL All-Star team.

Making the right-hander's accomplishment more impressive was the fact the Rays did not designate him to be their closer. Boxberger was used in the early innings at times to try to snuff opposing rallies.

"We asked him to do a lot," Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey said. "And it wasn't a real, real, specific role to start with. Obviously, he pitched himself into that role.

"He was always pitching in high-leveraged situations, which was the plan because we had a lot of faith in him. Once he got that opportunity at the end of the game and really seized it, he ran with it. To lead the league in saves pretty much says it all."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.