Bard will go to bullpen . . . and stay in rotation
With Sunday's rainout, the Red Sox have decided to put Daniel Bard in the bullpen, but they say it will only be for a few days. They say he's still a starting pitcher, but that since his next start won't be until Friday, he could be used as the eighth-inning setup man in the next couple of days.
With Bard's scheduled Sunday night start against the Yankees rained out, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told reporters that Bard will have his turn skipped. He'll be available in the bullpen, Valentine said (via WEEI.com), and will likely be used in an eighth-inning setup role, if the Red Sox have one this week in Minnesota.
But Valentine also insisted that while there was talk of putting Bard back in the bullpen full-time, Bard is still a starter. His next scheduled start would be Friday in Chicago.
The Red Sox bullpen has been a mess, starting with the news just before opening day that new closer Andrew Bailey needed surgery on his thumb. The Red Sox have an 8.44 bullpen ERA, and on Saturday against the Yankees, the relievers were handed a 9-1 lead after six innings and turned it into a 15-9 loss.
Bard had some success as the eighth-inning setup guy last year, although he struggled in September. Valentine was said to favor a move back to the bullpen this spring, but the front office has been strongly in favor of turning Bard into a starter.
Valentine presented Sunday's decision as simply a chance to give Bard a chance to pitch between starts, but it sure will be interesting to see what happens if Bard gets key outs in the eighth inning this week.