Edward Mujica

New Red Sox closer Edward Mujica: 'This opportunity for me is going to be big'

Rob Bradford
September 05, 2014 - 4:26 pm

When Edward Mujica signed his two-year deal with the Red Sox, he knew this was going to be a possibility -- filling for Koji Uehara as closer. How he got to this point, however, wasn't exactly what anybody expected. "When I signed here they told me I was going to be backing up Koji sometimes when he had a day off," Mujica said before Friday night's Red Sox tilt against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park. "Right now, he's had some rough outings and they're going to give me the opportunity to go out there and try to pick up Koji in that situation." Earlier in the season, it would have been difficult to imagine either Uehara leaving the closing role, or Mujica sliding in. The former Cardinals closer struggled through the first three months of his Red Sox career, with Mujica totaling a 5.65 ERA and .297 batting average against on July 1. But since then, the 30 year old has figured some things out. After the first day of July, Mujica has compiled a 2.28 ERA, walking three over 26 appearances. "Adjusting to the American League, for me, was different," Mujica said. "The last month I've just been doing the same thing, working hard every day. Nothing has changed, but the results have come out a little bit better." The comeback was punctuated, of course, with the announcement Friday that Uehara -- who has allowed opponents a .500 batting average over his last six appearances -- would be handing off the closing duties for Mujica. "I'm going to be here next year and this opportunity for me is going to be big," said the reliever, who compiled 37 saves in 41 chances for St. Louis in 2013. "I have to just go out there, try and do my best and see what they're going to do next year."