Boxberger pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015
|Tampa Bay Rays – No. 26|
May 27, 1988 |
|June 10, 2012, for the San Diego Padres|
(through 2016 season)
|Earned run average||3.17|
|Career highlights and awards|
Bradley George Boxberger (born May 27, 1988) is an American professional baseball relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for the San Diego Padres from 2012 through 2013.
Boxberger attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he played college baseball for the USC Trojans. Drafted in the first round of the 2009 MLB draft by the Cincinnati Reds, Boxberger played in minor league baseball for the Reds until was traded to the Padres after the 2011 season. Boxberger made his MLB debut with the Padres in 2012. The Padres traded him to Tampa Bay after the 2013 season.
Boxberger attended Foothill High School in Santa Ana, California. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 20th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball draft, but did not sign, choosing to attend the University of Southern California (USC). For the USC Trojans baseball team, he was named a Second Team All-American by Rivals.com. Boxberger was a part of the USC rotation his freshman and junior year, and split his sophomore season between starting and relief.
Boxberger was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the first round (43rd overall) of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft, and signed. Boxberger made his professional debut with the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League in 2010. He was named to the Carolina League All-Star Team. He was then promoted to the Carolina Mudcats of the Class AA Southern League. He had a combined win–loss record of 5–10 with a 4.91 earned run average (ERA) in 36 games, including 13 starts, as he was converted from a starter to a reliever after the promotion.
Boxberger began the 2011 season with the Mudcats, but was promoted to the Louisville Bats of the Class AAA International League. He finished the 2011 season with a 2.03 ERA and 11 saves in 55 games combined. He had the best strikeout ratio and lowest batting average against among all qualified Southern League relievers. Boxberger was the top Double-A closer in the minor leagues in 2011.
San Diego Padres
Boxberger, Yonder Alonso, Edinson Vólquez, and Yasmani Grandal were traded to the San Diego Padres for Mat Latos on December 17, 2011. Boxberger began the 2012 season with the Tucson Padres of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. He was promoted to the Major Leagues on June 10, and made his debut the same day, pitching a hitless eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in Miller Park.
Boxberger was returned to Tucson on June 26 after five relief appearances. He was called up to the majors again on July 30 when Joe Thatcher was placed on the disabled list and was optioned back to Triple-A on August 22 after eight appearances to make room on the roster for starter Andrew Werner. Boxberger joined the Padres again September 4 and remained with the club through the end of the season. In his time with Tucson, Boxberger posted a 2.70 ERA and 12.9 strike-outs per 9 innings over 37 games in relief. His totals for the 2012 season in 24 games with the Major League club were a 2.60 ERA and 33 strike-outs versus 18 walks in 27 2⁄3 innings.
Tampa Bay Rays
On January 22, 2014, the Padres traded Boxberger, Logan Forsythe, Matt Lollis, Matt Andriese, and Maxx Tissenbaum to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Alex Torres and Jesse Hahn. During spring training, the Rays optioned Boxberger to the Durham Bulls of the International League. On May 8, 2014, Boxberger made an appearance in the top of the 6th inning vs the Baltimore Orioles with the bases loaded. He proceeded to strike out 3 batters on 9 pitches thus becoming the 2nd Rays pitcher ever to pitch an immaculate inning and the first pitcher ever on record to do so with the bases loaded.
With Jake McGee on the disabled list at the start of the 2015 season, Boxberger served as the Rays' closer. He successfully converted his first ten save opportunities, and remained the closer after McGee's return. Boxberger was selected for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. Boxberger finished the season with a 3.71 ERA in 69 appearances, converting 41 of 47 save opportunities to lead the American League.
In his first spring training appearance of 2016, Boxberger tore his adductor brevis muscle, requiring surgery. He began the season on the disabled list, returning to the Rays on May 30. In his first appearance of the 2016 season, Boxberger strained his left oblique muscle, and went back on the disabled list.
Boxberger is considered a good fit for the late innings of games, either as a setup pitcher or closer. He has a four-seam fastball that ranges from 92 to 96 miles per hour (148 to 154 km/h), a changeup, a slider he throws at 88 miles per hour (142 km/h), and a 12-6 curveball he can throw from 78 to 81 miles per hour (126–130 km/h). Boxberger is tough on right-handers, posting a .225/.356/.354 line in 2012, but lefties hit .262/.380/.500 against him in the same span.
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