The Toronto Blue Jays have opted to keep Roberto Osuna in the team’s closer’s role ahead of newcomer Drew Storen.
Osuna won the job last season and went on to post 20 saves. That production, coupled with a strong performance at Spring Training, was enough to keep 28-year-old Storen at bay for now.
The Blue Jays also announced on Wednesday that Ezequiel Carrera had made the team as a fourth outfielder over Junior Lake, while right-handers Ryan Tepera, Joe Biagini and Arnold Leon will fill the final three spots in the bullpen.
“That’s a big part — familiarity,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of whether last year’s performance played a role in choosing Osuna over Storen.
“We know him well, I know him well … We’ll see how it all shakes out in the end. If we need to make adjustments, we’ll make adjustments.”
The closer’s role had been the subject of plenty of debate over recent weeks, with rumours suggesting that Storen’s overall experience would eventually win out.
But 21-year-old Osuna was delighted to get the nod: “I’m pretty happy to be in the ninth inning again. [It’s] not too much about what I did last year, but about the confidence that [pitching coach] Pete Walker and the coaching staff, Gibby, are giving to me. That means a lot to me, and obviously I’m going to do my best.”
Right-hander Marco Estrada, meanwhile, is set to begin the year on the disabled list with a sore back and will not make his first start of the season until April 10 against Boston.