Hector Neris to begin season as Philadelphia Phillies closer

Hector Neris will open the season as the Philadelphia Phillies' closer, manager Joe Girardi announced Wednesday.

Girardi chose Neris over fellow right-hander Archie Bradley and left-hander Jose Alvarado, who will serve as Philadelphia's top setup relievers.

"I liked the way all three of them threw the ball [in spring training]," Girardi told reporters Wednesday. "When you look at Archie, he's a guy that you can ask to give multiple innings -- more than three outs -- on occasion. He's comfortable doing it, he's willing to do it. Alvarado is the lefty that I can deploy against the lefties where they are in the lineup.

"Hector has closed. After a slow start last year, I thought he threw the ball pretty well, and I liked the way he threw the ball this spring."

Neris pitched in 10 games during spring training, striking out 14 batters and walking none over 9⅔ innings and posting a 3.72 ERA. He was 2-2 with a 4.57 ERA and five saves in 24 relief appearances in 2020, striking out 27 and walking 13 in 21⅔ innings.

Since making his debut with Philadelphia in 2014, Neris is 17-22 with 72 saves and a 3.38 ERA in 331 appearances out of the bullpen.

"He's done it, he's done it in this town, and I like the way he's throwing the baseball," Girardi said.

Reuters contributed to this report.