Is Brian Fuentes the closer?

You have to read between the lines often when Mike Scioscia talks about his bullpen plans. He rarely lays everything out for public consumption, and he's certainly not going to do it before any of his pitchers even get on a mound.

But he had some interesting comments when someone asked him Wednesday how he would handle the ninth inning this year. By the end of last season, it was no longer the sole domain of closer Brian Fuentes. Kevin Jepsen and Jason Bulger each saw some action in save situations.

The addition of two veterans could make even more competition for Fuentes. If Scot Shields fully recovers from last June's knee surgery, he could be an option. As could newcomer Fernando Rodney, according to Scioscia.

"Shields, Rodney and Fuentes have the potential to close games," Scioscia said. "Brian had a strong year for us and I think leading up to Brian is going to be important. At times, Rodney and Shields are going to be pitching in the ninth."