Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Rays to use Colome in traditional closer's role

MLB.com @wwchastain

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay's bullpen will be dramatically different this season in a lot of ways, but not where the last man standing is concerned.

Alex Colome will return as the closer, and he'll be a closer in the traditional sense of the role, which means logging the final three outs of a game and not coming in earlier to snuff out hot situations.

View Full Game Coverage

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay's bullpen will be dramatically different this season in a lot of ways, but not where the last man standing is concerned.

Alex Colome will return as the closer, and he'll be a closer in the traditional sense of the role, which means logging the final three outs of a game and not coming in earlier to snuff out hot situations.

View Full Game Coverage

"We tried that last year and it probably wasn't fair, given the workload we were asking [Colome] to do," manager Kevin Cash said. "We're going to ask him to pitch in some tight ballgames. I know that. I think most of his work will come in the ninth inning.

"If it's a big situation where we need to try and get a four-out save, we'll consider that. But it's not a situation we'll [do too often]."

Spring info | Tickets | Schedule

But Colome knows the drill after leading the American League with six saves of four outs or more in 2017.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Rays relievers will likely wear a lot of hats this season, pitching longer stints given the new order that will see the Rays use a "bullpen day" in place of a fifth starter.

Colome continues to be rock steady after notching 47 saves in 53 opportunities last season to become the first Rays reliever to lead the Majors in saves. Still, this will be just his third season as a closer, a role with which he's grown more familiar.

"Yeah, more comfortable than two years ago," Colome said. "When I go out on the mound, I have my mind 100 percent on my work."

Despite logging just two seasons as the Rays closer, Colome ranks third in franchise history in saves, with 84, behind Roberto Hernandez (101), and Fernando Rodney (85).

Colome picked up the win in Monday night's 4-2 victory over the Yankees, tossing a scoreless eighth.

He feels he's in good shape nearing the end of Spring Training and ready for the season.

"I don't need too much [work in the spring]," he said. "I just need to throw a couple of more innings, waiting for the season to start. Right now my body feels good to go."

Colome hasn't thrown in back-to-back games, which is the final hurdle for any closer to prove he's ready.

"We wait for the season to get closer to throw back to back, we'll see," said Colome, stressing the fact that a long season awaits. "I just try to do the same job I did last year. Give it all I have, 100 percent, and see what happens."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Alex Colome