KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 18: Daniel Bard #51 of the Boston Red Sox throws in the eighth inning during a game against the Kansas City .Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 18, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Red Sox won 4-3. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Red Sox Will Keep Daniel Bard In Rotation

The Boston Red Sox have had some early trouble in the bullpen. But they do not intend to bump Daniel Bard from the rotation to try to patch the hole.

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Daniel Bard Isn't Leaving The Red Sox's Rotation (Yet)

Let's think about this. A baseball team is designed based on months or years of information. Then in spring training, there's another six weeks for roster fine-tuning. When a team begins a year with a plan, a lot of work and a lot of data has gone into that plan. The team will presumably be confident in that plan.

So, the Boston Red Sox are 0-3. They chose to begin the season with Daniel Bard in the rotation, but the bullpen was a problem in the season's first series. I'm going to say that part again, to drive the point home: the season's first series. Are the Red Sox already thinking of deviating from their plan? Ben Cherington says, no, that's silly, you're silly.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington ... said that his team would not reconsider its decision to commit to Daniel Bard in the rotation.

"Right now, he's starting [Tuesday] for us. We made a decision this winter collectively to give him a chance to get stretched out in spring training and show us what he can do. We feel like he showed enough in spring training, enough development, to carry that into the season," said Cherington.

Cherington wouldn't close the door on the possibility that Bard could return to the bullpen down the road, but that's down the road. For now, the Red Sox planned on starting Daniel Bard, so they'll start Daniel Bard and keep from overreacting to what was simply a bad series. If there are more bad series for the bullpen, perhaps the Red Sox will do something about it. Perhaps they'll even bump Bard back, if he's having trouble as a starter. But for the time being, no, the Red Sox are staying calm, and they'd probably like it if the fans and media would stay calm, too. Not that they ever will, about anything.


Daniel Bard Might Close For Red Sox After All

Two words. You'll have to take this one at face value. It's not as if Bobby Valentine stood at a podium and expounded on how the natural state of Daniel Bard was, in fact, as a reliever. Someone in a sea of reporters asked Valentine if Bard was an option to close if Alfredo Aceves and/or Mark Melancon continue to struggle. Valentine responded:

"Could be."

That could mean several things.

Dismissive: "Yeah, I guess. I mean, that's a pretty stupid theory this early, but I'm not ruling anything out."

Serious: "Daniel Bard certainly could close. This is something I've thought about often."

Confused: "I thought you asked 'Did you park your car closer?' and I was all, man, where did I park? So I said 'Could be' and later realized that you were talking about Bard. Figured that was going to start a crapstorm in the papers the next day, so I slept in."

But it's not a crazy idea. Bard was moved to the bullpen after horrific control struggles in the minors, and he was one of the Red Sox' best relievers the past two seasons. The Red Sox are also without Andrew Bailey, who had thumb surgery. That means that the Red Sox have lost their two best bullpen arms and the player they acquired to help replace them. There has to be a temptation to put Bard back there.

Of course, we're talking about three games. Three freaking games. Temporary closer Alfredo Aceves hasn't had a great start to the season, and neither has ostensible setup man Mark Melancon. Again: three games. Daniel Bard hasn't even made a start yet. It's too early to panic.

Except in Boston, where the default state is panic. And Bobby Valentine said that Bard "could be" an option to close if things don't improve. So that's news. You just read about it. Now you feel dirty. Serves you right.


Josh Beckett Injury: Thumb Knocks Red Sox Starter Off Opening-Day Roster

The Red Sox might be without Josh Beckett for the second game of the season.


Boston Red Sox Choose Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard To Fill Out Rotation

Doesn't seem that long ago that we were in this spot arguing about Carlos Silva and Vicente Padilla. We were so young, so foolish. So off. On Sunday morning, Bobby Valentine announced his rotation for the Boston Red Sox, and the last two spots are going to Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard.

Doubront is a 24-year-old lefty who pitched in 11 relief appearances for the Red Sox last year, and he won the job with a 2.70 ERA in three Grapefruit League starts. His minor-league numbers have been good-not-great, though he has missed some time in each of the last two years because of injury:

2010 22 AA-AAA 2.81 16 80.0 75 1 33 72
2011 23 AAA-AA-A- 3.96 18 77.1 69 10 26 74
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 4/1/2012.

Bard is a converted reliever, and he's been the Red Sox's eighth-inning reliever for most of the last two seasons. And, heck, as long as we're swapping minor-league stats, take a look at these beauties:

Year Age Lev ERA GS IP H BB SO
2007 22 A-A+ 7.08 22 75.0 76 78 47
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 4/1/2012.

That's what happened the last time Daniel Bard was a starter. No big deal.There probably isn't anything to worry about, really. That was way back in 2007 when Bard was 22. He's much different now. Check out his spring stats:

6.57 5 24.2 16 18

Totally different. His walks are under that one-per-inning mark and everything.

Of course, Bard is blessed with a fantastic fastball-and-slider combination, and he's been rather successful with it over the last two years. That recent success is probably more relevant that what Bard did in A-ball a few years ago, or his spring stats.

Still, it'd be something of a surprise if both Doubront and Bard were both in the rotation in September. Not because they aren't capable pitchers, but just because that's how bottoms of rotations usually shake out. In June, we'll probably laugh about how worked up everyone was for this spring-training battle. Especially as we're all getting worked up about Pedro Martinez's first start back! Of all the dramatic things ...


Boston Red Sox Narrow Pool Of Rotation Candidates

The regular season's still coming, and the Boston Red Sox are still trying to figure out the back of their starting rotation. The front three are all set. The back two are less set.

The latest, from Alex Speier:

Vicente Padilla is out, and Andrew Miller is out. For now. Thursday, it was suggested that the favorites are Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront, with Daniel Bard returning to the bullpen. Nothing official has been determined, but that's the state of things, allegedly.

As we've mentioned, this is just about the rotation with which the Red Sox start the year. That rotation can and will change as the season progresses. Miller could re-emerge as a candidate, as could Padilla. But people place a special significance upon season-opening rosters, so, this is an update on the Boston Red Sox' possible season-opening roster.


McAdam: Daniel Bard Could Return To Red Sox Bullpen

We know that the Boston Red Sox are in pretty good shape with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz leading the starting rotation. There are question marks after them, and the Red Sox have been searching for answers this spring. One candidate to start is Daniel Bard, who has made 192 major league appearances, all in relief. But Sean McAdam writes that the 26-year-old righty could return to the bullpen.

One Red Sox staff member has told others outside the organization that, when all is said and done, Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront will have spots in the rotation, with Daniel Bard returning to the bullpen.

On Tuesday night, about an hour after Bard had expressed satisfaction that he had taken a step forward, Valentine, in his post-game remarks, did seemingly everything he could to question Bard's suitability for the rotation.

Across Florida, a number of scouts have made the observation that they think the Sox would be better off with Bard back in his customary eighth inning role.

This spring, Bard has ten walks and six strikeouts. Aceves has zero walks and eight strikeouts. Doubront has five walks and eight strikeouts. It's only spring - Lester, for example, has five walks and three strikeouts - so decisions shouldn't be based on just the numbers, but the Red Sox also apparently haven't been thrilled with how Bard has looked, and that matters. Bard isn't guaranteed to return to the bullpen, but that is a very good possibility.


Aaron Cook Seemingly Out Of Red Sox Rotation Competition, For Now

The front of the Boston Red Sox's rotation looks something like this: Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz. Solid. Then there's this escarpment, and on the ground below, there's a big competition for the final two spots. Carlos Silva already had to drop out. Now it looks like Aaron Cook is out, too, at least for the time being. Nick Cafardo:

[Bobby Valentine] On Aaron Cook: "Will he get enough innings to start in the major leagues at the beginning of the season? I doubt it. Seems he's like he's on a pace for 17-18 innings if all goes well. If we have the innings to give him, maybe, but I doubt it."

Cook's got himself an injury history, hence the kid gloves. Valentine hasn't shut the door on Cook making the rotation eventually, but it's not going to happen out of the gate.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, while Cook is out, Andrew Miller is back in. From the same article:

Valentine thought Andrew Miller's situation was different from Cook's because Cook is more of a rehab situation, while [Miller] has missed time with a sore elbow. Valentine reported that Miller threw a bullpen and appears to be on the track back and still able to compete for the No. 5 job.

So the battle rages on. Two guys will win starting jobs out of camp, presuming the Red Sox don't suddenly sign Roy Oswalt somehow. Of course, the fight doesn't end there - the two guys will then have to hang on to their jobs, which is a challenge. The season is long. Winning a spot in the rotation is not the same as keeping a spot in the rotation.


Red Sox Rotation Woes Continue: Andrew Miller Out With Elbow Problem

The Boston Red Sox are seemingly going through starting pitcher candidates like … well, really, really fast, anyway.

The latest casualty appears to be Andrew Miller. Pete Abraham:

Lefthander Andrew Miller has been scratched from Thursday’s game against the Cardinals in Jupiter because of a stiff elbow.

Bobby Valentine said Miller threw in the bullpen on Tuesday and reported the issue when he arrived this morning. The discomfort is in the back of his elbow.

“The operative word here is ‘little.’ I was told there was stiffness,” Valentine said.

“Little” in cases like this often means the pitcher’s arm is going to wind up in a sling for six months. Miller had thrown in one spring training game so far this year with a walk and three strikeouts in two innings.

You’d think Red Sox management probably has Roy Oswalt’s number on speed dial by now; all they’ll have to do is convince Oswalt that Boston is in Texas, or somewhere nearby, and they’ll have a solid starter for their rotation.

Until then, chalk up another possible cross-off-the-list in Miller.


Carlos Silva's Sore Shoulder Knocks Him From Red Sox Competition

The supposed seven-man competition for two slots in the Red Sox rotation became a six-man battle with Carlos Silva's shoulder injury taking him out of the mix.


Cafardo: Red Sox Could Aggressively Pursue Roy Oswalt At End Of Spring

Roy Oswalt is sitting at home, catching up on Downton Abbeys training diligently, hoping that a team will meet his particular requirements with money and location. The Boston Red Sox were said to be out, mostly because Oswalt didn't want to pitch that far north. But from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, we have whispers that the dream might not be dead:

It’s early in the Daniel Bard experiment. The jury is out on whether Bard will be needed more in the bullpen with Andrew Bailey showing signs of nagging injuries. Oswalt is still in play, and later in camp, the Red Sox could put on a full-court press for him.

If the full-court press doesn't work, they could huddle up and go for an end-around, making a power play for him before throwing a Hail Mary if all else fails.

The baseball season is very, very, very long, so it's a little presumptuous to chide Oswalt for wanting to stay close to his family. And if this is all a negotiating ploy to make the Red Sox overpay, well, that's sort of brilliant. And risky. It wouldn't be as risky as the Red Sox going into the season with the back end of their rotation being held together with crossed fingers and sprite kisses, of course. It's still the best fit for both sides. It's just up to Oswalt to a) settle or b) figure that out.


The Boston Red Sox And 4,828 Fifth-Starter Candidates

Who will be the fifth starter for the Boston Red Sox? It'll be one of close to a dozen candidates the team has rounded up this offseason.

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