Mark Melancon ‘Front-Runner’ to Be Red Sox Closer, According to Bobby Valentine

Mark Melancon closed games for the Houston Astros, but after coming to the Red Sox in a trade, his role still seemed unclear. Now, manager Bobby Valentine has done a little bit more to clarify the Red Sox' closer situation.

Valentine declared Melancon the "front-runner" for the closer gig on Friday in a Twitter chat set up by the Red Sox when asked about the team's closer situation.

"I'm looking forward to working with our newest addition," Valentine replied. "Mark will be a valuable member of the team in 2012."

Melancon had 20 saves in 25 opportunities for the Astros last year, and if he does end up closing games for the Red Sox, the 26-year-old right-hander will face the daunting task of replacing Jonathan Papelbon.

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