In the dreary days following the 2012 season, Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington set about changing the core leadership in the clubhouse. He brought in a new manager, but also brought in a group of veteran players that would set the tone for the team each day.

Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Koji Uehara all came to Boston for the 2013 season. They helped lead the Red Sox to a World Series title, and helped build a special bond between the team and the city.

The band of bearded brothers is long gone now. Gomes was traded to Oakland with Jon Lester in July 2014, and Victorino and Napoli have been moved in the past month. All three were casualties of disappointing seasons, victims of a franchise that can’t seem to field a roster capable of consistently contending for a playoff spot.

Only Koji remains. Under contract through next season, Uehara has been the only dependable reliever in the bullpen this year. He has converted 25 of 27 save opportunities, with a 2.23 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 5-to-1.

But now it will be 2016 before he’ll pitch again. The Red Sox announced Monday he will miss the rest of the season after suffering a fracture in his right wrist during Friday night’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

It was an accident that could’ve been avoided. Uehara threw his pitching arm in front of a line drive in an effort to stop it. The maneuver worked, in that respect, since he was able to throw Ian Kinsler out with the bases loaded to end the game.

For Uehara, it’s the only way to play the game.

“I consider my whole body to be the glove once I release the ball,” he said after the game.

Yes, Uehara has landed on the disabled list. But the Red Sox could use more players with his win-at-all-costs attitude as they look to rebuild the roster and map a route out of this mess.

In Japanese baseball, teams place a high value on the concept of a player’s fighting spirit. Uehara’s fighting spirit has never been questioned. In 2013, he started the season as Boston’s fourth option as a closer. By the end of the season he was the American League’s best. He overwhelmed batters with a fastball that barely topped 90 mph, but was augmented by a disappearing split-fingered fastball that fell off the table as it approached home plate.

Many people thought Uehara might be dealt this summer, with the Sox out of the playoff race for the second straight season. A top-level closer is typically expendable for a last-place team.

Instead, he remains. Pitching in the final inning of a meaningless game on Friday. Showing the fighting spirit that has made him one of the most effective closers in the game.

It’s a spirit the Sox have been lacking ever since the duck boats were paraded in the fall of 2013. One they need to rebuild as they start to think about 2016.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.