FORT MYERS, Fla. — Make of this what you will.
Question: “Is Daniel Bard pitching for his role today?”
Bobby Valentine: “No.”
Question: So the decision is made?
Bobby Valentine: “It hasn’t really been made. I think the decision that he could start has been made, that he’s capable of starting.”
The Red Sox have yet to announce their fourth and fifth starters. It seems apparent that Felix Doubront will be the No. 4 starter. The choice for the final spot is not as clear given Bard’s poor statistics this spring.
But given the organization’s high regard for Bard, it seems unlikely giving him a chance to start would consist only of six spring training games. Beyond that, wedging Bard back into the bullpen is not as easy as it might seem.
Demoting Bard will annoy him. It also sets up a potential controversy of having people wonder whether he should be the closer instead of Andrew Bailey. It also shoves Mark Melancon down the line.
Putting the versatile Alfredo Aceves back in the bullpen is a far easier proposition. He’ll be annoyed, sure. But at this time last year he was headed to Pawtucket. He’s in far less of a position to complain than Bard.
Plus, none of this is permanent. If Bard (or Doubront for that matter) stink as starters, the Sox can always give Aceves a shot or call up Aaron Cook.
What ultimately matters is who pitches well over the course of six months, not who gets a few starts in the first few weeks of the season.