Matt Barnes certainly looked like a closer in his first spring training outing

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Matt Barnes said he wants to be the Red Sox’ closer. Sunday he backed up his words with actions.

The reliever cruised through the three Braves batters he faced in his first Grapefruit League action, striking out two of them.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Barnes’ outing was the velocity displayed out of the gate, with the righty hitting 98 mph on the Cool Today Park radar gun. He closed out the appearances by fanning highly-touted Ronald Acuna on three pitches.

“That was impressive,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “That was good. Velocity was up. Made some adjustments. It was a good one for Barnes. You don’t have to worry too much about him. Physically he’s always in shape. He’s just like Adam, we’re going to take our time. They know what they need to be ready for the start of the season. That was impressive. Velocity was up, a tick up from last year, which is a good sign.”

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