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Bard to make short foray into Boston's bullpen

Bard to make short foray into Boston's bullpen

Bard to make short foray into Boston's bullpen
BOSTON -- Ever since closer Andrew Bailey went down with an injury to his right thumb at the end of Spring Training, there has been public outcry for Daniel Bard to be moved back to the bullpen.

That will indeed happen on Monday, in Minneapolis against the Twins, but it appears to be a temporary arrangement.

Bard's scheduled start against the Yankees on Sunday night was postponed several hours in advance of the 8:05 ET first pitch. Instead of pushing Bard back a day, manager Bobby Valentine elected to keep Jon Lester on turn for Monday's start against the Twins. Lester was already working with an extra day of rest because of an off-day. To keep Bard on turn would give the other four starters too much rest.

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The plan remains for Bard to make his next scheduled start, on Friday night in Chicago against the White Sox.

How will the righty be used in the bullpen?

"I'd like to use him if we have a lead in the eighth inning, just as he's been comfortable doing in the past, maybe bail [us] out in the seventh," said Valentine.

With Boston's bullpen ERA the worst among the 30 teams in the Major Leagues, was there any thought of putting Bard back in the bullpen on a more permanent basis?

"There was some thought of that," Valentine said. "As the plan is now, he's our fifth starter."

But what's the reasoning for keeping Bard in the rotation when it seems he could serve such a useful role in the bullpen?

"The fact that he's pitched very well as a starter, and we think that he can be a very good starter for our team," Valentine said.

The thought is that having Bard make one relief outing between starts will keep him sharp and possibly help the Red Sox win a game without being too physically demanding on him.

"I think for the one occurrence, it should be [fine]," Valentine said. "I don't think it's an easy job. It should be acceptable physically."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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