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Francona betting that bullpen will continue to be strong

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 17, 2013

  One of the most overworked cliches in baseball is that from year to year, bullpens tend to be erratic, and there isn’t much anyone can do about it.
  For the past two seasons, Tribe relievers have defied that adage, and manager Terry Francona doesn’t see why his bullpen won’t continue to maintain its consistency.
“”These guys are pretty good,’’ Francona said. “”When you have an anchor at the end, it makes it easier to put together a bullpen. You build it backward to forward.’’
   Closer Chris Perez has 75 saves in 83 opportunities the past two years. Vinnie Pestano has become a slam-dunk setup man, and Joe Smith has been close to flawless as the seventh-innning specialist.
  “”Vinnie has turned into a dominating pitcher,’’ Francona said. “”Joe has always been tough on righties, and now he can get lefties out.
  “”Then we have young guys like Cody Allen – his stuff is nasty—and Nick Hagadone. His stuff is off the charts. But with some of these long lever guys (tall), it just takes awhile to get enough repetitions.’’

  At the moment, having a left-hander in the bullpen is not a sure thing.
Hagadone has the best chance to latch onto a job, though Scott Barnes, David Huff (if he does not remain a starter) and Rich Hill will have a chance to compete for a spot.

  Is it a sure thing that a lefty is in the bullpen's future?
  “”I certainly would like that,’’ Francona said. “”But I learned the hard way that when you have a guy you’re not comfortable with, it doesn’t turn out well.’’


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