Rauch relishes closer role

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:27 PM ET

DUNEDIN, Fla. — There is no fear factor in Jon Rauch’s makeup.

With his imposing size — he’s 6-foot-11— and bulging eyes, Rauch looks positively menacing.

If, say, he strolled into a 7-Eleven at midnight, the clerk would glance up, open the till and start shovelling cash his way.

When the season starts, due to various injuries to Frank Francisco, Rauch will open the campaign as the Blue Jays closer.

It’s not a new role for Rauch as he posted 21 saves with the Twins in 2010 and 17 back in ’08 with Washington.

It’s a role he will willingly assume without any jitters.

“Even people who are very good at it still are going to have their bad days,” Rauch said. “It’s just confidence. I think there’s a prototypical closer out there that people think has to throw 95, have a swing-and-miss pitch. Sure, those things are great to have, but I think a guy like myself that pitches to contact and trusts his defence can do the job just as well.”

He added that he doesn’t look on the closer role as being any more challenging than other roles.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “If you’re the setup guy you’re coming into the game in the same situations (with a lead). A lot of times you’re coming into tougher situations with guys on base and the game’s on the line.

“For me I still try to approach it as I would a mop up game — go in throw strikes and get three outs.”


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