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Boxberger 'honored' to be D-backs' closer

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo ended the suspense Tuesday when he announced that right-hander Brad Boxberger would be the team's closer to start the season.

Boxberger had been competing for the role along with Archie Bradley and Yoshihisa Hirano.

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo ended the suspense Tuesday when he announced that right-hander Brad Boxberger would be the team's closer to start the season.

Boxberger had been competing for the role along with Archie Bradley and Yoshihisa Hirano.

"I'm excited," Boxberger said. "I'm excited for the opportunity. I'm definitely honored to have the opportunity to be able to close here and I'm looking forward to it."

The D-backs acquired Boxberger from the Rays during the offseason in exchange for Minor League pitcher Curtis Taylor.

Video: Boxberger looks ahead to playing for D-backs

Boxberger is no stranger to the role, having led the American League in saves with 41 in 2015, though he has been limited by injuries the past two seasons.

"He closed games easily in the AL East," Lovullo said. "That's a track record that we enjoyed and we saw, but we knew there were some health concerns. Knowing that he was healthy and walking through that with him, getting some direct feedback … he felt like he was on the up elevator when it came to health.

"His stuff came out at times a little more aggressively than others and we've seen it trending in the right direction. We know that a healthy Brad Boxberger is going to be a very, very good closer for us."

As for the other two
Bradley will remain in the role he filled last year when he pitched the eighth inning and sometimes got key outs in the seventh as well. It is a role similar to the one that Andrew Miller fills for the Indians.

Video: 30 Clubs in 30 Days: Archie Bradly on moving to 'pen

The 25-year-old had a 1.73 ERA in 63 appearances in 2017.

"Really, last year was a new role for me and I was able to adjust to it and find a way to make it work," said Bradley, who had been a starter throughout his professional career. "It's going to be no different this year. In whatever situation, I'm just going to rely on my teammates and coaches and do the best I can."

Hirano will be used late in games as well, Lovullo said, depending on matchups.

Humidor? What humidor?
The D-backs used balls out of their humidor for the first time Monday and most players did not seem to notice a difference.

"Nobody openly said anything about there being a huge difference," Lovullo said. "For me, it didn't have a huge impact. One game is hard to tell. We might be able to tell you some of our different thoughts a little further into the season."

This will be the first year the team will use balls that have been stored in a humidor.

Up next
The D-backs open the regular season on Thursday against the Rockies at Chase Field with Patrick Corbin getting his first career Opening Day start.

Lovullo declined to reveal his starting lineup for the 7:10 p.m. MST game, saying he still had some things he was working through.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks