FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves has the feeling that there was not anything he could have done on the mound to get himself into the rotation.
While coincidentally breaking some news about Josh Beckett's right thumb, Aceves on Monday also explained his reaction from the day before, when manager Bobby Valentine told the pitcher he was going to the bullpen because Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront were named the Red Sox's final two starters.
"If [Beckett] doesn't start the second game, I will start the second game and the first game at home," said Aceves. "That's what [Valentine] said. And then he said, 'But [for] now, you're going to be in the bullpen. I like Felix Doubront,' he said, 'because he's lefty.' OK, that's his approach, and he said that [with Daniel] Bard, the organization wants to give him the chance. So I've got no chance. It doesn't matter how good you throw, you know? You're still not going to pitch."
Valentine said Aceves was upset on Sunday when the news was delivered, but Aceves on Monday said he was not mad.
"Of course not. No, man," Aceves said. "He said, 'You're going to be in the bullpen,' and yesterday he said, 'How would I feel to throw in the eighth inning?' I said, 'I feel good.' I said, 'I'm good. What about the ninth?' Same. 'Maybe you want to start the season as a closer?' I said, 'OK, it doesn't matter if I pitch in the eighth or ninth. It doesn't matter.' I said, 'You've got to let me know ... what's happening."
Aceves or Mark Melancon could fill in for Andrew Bailey if Bailey's right thumb lands him on the disabled list. By Sunday evening, pitching coach Bob McClure said Aceves had calmed down.
"He's fine now," McClure said Sunday. "He's a team guy, and that's been his focal point the whole time, 'Whatever I can do best for the team.' And will he start at some point? I don't know. Will he close at some point? I don't know. But he's a very versatile person, and what he's basically told us, 'Whatever I can do to help the team, that's what I'm going to do.'"