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Mujica moves into closer's role on temporary basis

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The injury to Koji Uehara puts Edward Mujica temporarily back in the closing role he became quite comfortable with over the course of the 2013 season, when he recorded 37 saves during the regular season for a Cardinals team on its way to a World Series matchup with the Red Sox.

Mujica is also intimately familiar with his current status in Boston: It's the second consecutive year he inherits the ninth-inning duties on the heels of an injury to the team's well-established closer early in the season. After projected Cardinals closer Jason Motte landed on the disabled list with a strained elbow just before Opening Day 2013, Mujica stepped in and excelled all year as St. Louis' closer before a rocky September that led Trevor Rosenthal to handle closing duties during the postseason.

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NEW YORK -- The injury to Koji Uehara puts Edward Mujica temporarily back in the closing role he became quite comfortable with over the course of the 2013 season, when he recorded 37 saves during the regular season for a Cardinals team on its way to a World Series matchup with the Red Sox.

Mujica is also intimately familiar with his current status in Boston: It's the second consecutive year he inherits the ninth-inning duties on the heels of an injury to the team's well-established closer early in the season. After projected Cardinals closer Jason Motte landed on the disabled list with a strained elbow just before Opening Day 2013, Mujica stepped in and excelled all year as St. Louis' closer before a rocky September that led Trevor Rosenthal to handle closing duties during the postseason.

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"Everybody's ready in the bullpen to take care of business and everybody's prepared," Mujica said. "Everybody in the bullpen, we talked about that last night, just everybody being ready for whatever situation. Everybody prepares themselves to be out there."

With Uehara's recovery timetable uncertain, Mujica will be relied upon to step into the everyday closer's role and prove his value to the Red Sox after the 29-year-old right-hander signed on in the offseason merely as another piece in the defending champions' bullpen.

"One of the main reasons we signed him in the offseason was history last year showed us the need for multiple guys that can close games out in the event of the situation that arose last night," manager John Farrell said. "With a guy that saved 30-plus games and walks to the mound in the ninth inning very comfortable, we've got complete confidence in him."

Mujica's promotion leaves Farrell a little thinner on setup options, but he said on Saturday he felt comfortable mixing and matching as situations allow for the immediate future based on the early returns on the rest of the bullpen.

"Matchups are going to play a part of that," Farrell said. "[Chris Capuano's] emergence and our trust with him with both lefties and righties, Andrew Miller, who's got power stuff and can come in and close down an inning or shut down an inning by virtue of a strikeout. So we're going to mix and match as best we can and based on who's available on a given day."

Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

Boston Red Sox