Red Sox may consider putting Bard back in bullpen

BOSTON -- The Red Sox say Sunday night's game with the Yankees is still on.

The Red Sox also say that Daniel Bard will be their starting pitcher for that game.

The weather forecast says there's a 90 percent chance of rain all evening. The Bard forecast says that the chances of him remaining in the rotation are somewhat less than that.

How much less?

Well, both manager Bobby Valentine and (more significantly) general manager Ben Cherington admitted after Saturday's devastating 15-9 loss to the Yankees that all options are under consideration, and that those options have to include making Bard the closer.

"When your pitching staff is not performing and you're 4-10, you have to find ways to get better," Cherington said. "Sure, we've got to consider changes. It does increase the urgency."

Cherington and the rest of the front office have been strongly in the Bard-stays-in-the-rotation camp, while Valentine has been said since spring training to favor putting him back in the bullpen.

Bard has shown promising signs in his two starts, but a bullpen that lost closer Andrew Bailey to an injury just before opening day has been basically a disaster. Saturday, starter Felix Doubront went six innings and handed the pen a 9-1 lead, but the relievers gave up seven runs in the seventh and another seven in the eighth.

With the rest of his bullpen undependable and the game falling apart, Valentine tried to get a six-out save from fill-in closer Alfredo Aceves. Aceves didn't get a single out, allowing six straight Yankees to reach base and pushing his ERA to 24.00.

Valentine, Cherington and two of the Red Sox owners met for quite a while after the game, but Cherington insisted later that no decisions were reached.

"After a loss like that, the best thing to do is not make decisions right away," he said. "There's different ways to improve, and we've got to look at all of those ways."

Cherington then said that Bard will indeed be starting Sunday night.

Of course, there may not be a game Sunday night.

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