GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Hector Santiago is scheduled to pitch the ninth inning both Wednesday and Thursday, the latest indication the Sox are giving serious consideration to using the rookie left-hander as their closer.
Addison Reed, a rookie right-hander, is also a candidate, as are veteran lefty Matt Thornton and right-hander Jesse Crain. Veteran lefty Will Ohman was even thrown in the mix of possibilities by pitching coach Don Cooper.
This is clearly the biggest decision the Sox must make before the season opens on April 6 in Texas. The seventh and eighth are arguably as important as the ninth, but blowing leads in the ninth -- as the Sox found out last April -- is gut-wrenching. There are only so many of those a team can take.
"Yeah, if you get in situation where you're snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, that's no fun,'' Ohman said. "When it's a final thing, a walkoff, it's a terrible feeling. For a back-end guy, that falls on you.''
The key thing for the guy who gets the job is, "can you have a short enough memory to be OK with that, come back the next day and let it not affect you?" Ohman said.
At least the Sox have options, if not one obvious choice.
" We have power arms, guys who are old who know how to get people out and guys who are young who know how to get people out,'' Ohman said. "Whichever way we decide to go forward, the options are there.''