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04/04/12 5:50 PM ET

Farnsworth spared as Upton, Fuld hit DL

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Rays elected not to place injured closer Kyle Farnsworth on the disabled list Wednesday, but could still do so before they open the season on Friday against the Yankees.

Outfielder B.J. Upton and catcher Robinson Chirinos were placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to March 26. The Rays also placed outfielder Sam Fuld on the 15-day DL, effective Wednesday.

The question is: Who will be the Rays' closer when the season begins?

"We don't have a closer," manager Joe Maddon admitted on Wednesday.

Until Farnsworth is able to return, it will be closer-by-committee with Fernando Rodney, Joel Peralta, and possibly J. P. Howell likely sharing the duties.

"We've got to get to the ninth inning with the right pitcher and see what happens," Maddon said.

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According to Farnsworth, an MRI exam of his elbow revealed only a strain, and he expects to pitch again this season.

"We'll just have to give it some time to calm down," the pitcher said.

How long that will take remains to be seen.

Farnsworth, who saved 25 games last season, said the problem is similar to what he experienced last September when he was sidelined for two weeks. He occasionally feels pain when trying to finish pitches, especially his breaking ball.

"Sometimes I would feel it and sometimes I wouldn't, so it was just more aggravating than anything trying to figure out what it is," he said.

Maddon tried to downplay the impact of the injuries to Farnsworth, Upton and Fuld.

"I think we can cover that, we can overcome that stuff," Maddon said. "Over the course of a year, you're going to have bad things happen. It happens to everybody. When things aren't going well, you have to figure things out.

"The bullpen is always my biggest concern," admitted Maddon, even as Peralta, tape recorder in hand and a grin on his face, playfully eavesdropped on Maddon's conversation with the media.

"Joe is going to find a way to match up," Peralta predicted. "It's not that any one of us is going to be the closer. That's not going to happen."

"This is probably the most depth we've had in the bullpen in a long time," said Opening Day starter James Shields, who led the Major Leagues with 11 complete games last year.

With 87 Major League saves on his resume -- more than any other Rays' reliever, including Farnsworth -- the 35-year-old Rodney would welcome the opportunity to be a closer again.

"I'm ready, I had a pretty good spring," Rodney said.

In 2009, Rodney, who signed with the Rays as a free agent in January, saved 37 games for the Tigers.

"I have a little bit of experience [as a closer]," he said.

Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.