What's the best role for Bard?

December, 16, 2011
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said recently he would prepare Daniel Bard as a starting pitcher during spring training, a plan Bard says the Sox “feel pretty strongly about ... and I do too.”

During a podcast with WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Bard said that after Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies, he had assumed he would stay in the bullpen for next season. But last week’s news that the Sox were going to treat him like a starting pitcher in spring training was welcome to him.

"I told Ben [Cherington] when I heard [John] Lackey was having surgery and [Tim Wakefield] is a free agent, I saw two openings in the starting rotation," Bard told WEEI. "The last two years I haven't said it much, but in my own head, just watching the guys in this league that have had a lot of success in a starting role, I just felt like I could do that. I've got as good or better raw stuff as them. I try to keep myself in good shape. I felt like everything I have at this point, that I could have success in that role. So, I told Ben that.”

The Sox were apparently listening. Valentine left open the possibility of changing his mind and moving Bard back to the pen, but as of now it seems like they’re serious about prepping him to join the rotation.

Bard, who was a starter in college, was initially used as a starting pitcher with the Red Sox at the single-A level, but with little success. In 22 starts between Single-A Greenville and Lancaster, he was 3-7 with a 7.08 ERA and 78 walks in 75 innings.

Bard, whose heater occasionally hits triple-digits on the radar gun, has excelled in a setup role. He has a 2.88 ERA over the last three seasons, having struck out 213 and walked 76 in 197 innings.

What do you think about the possibility of Bard in the rotation? Do you think he’d be a more valuable asset there, or in the bullpen as either a setup man or closer? Vote in the poll above or share your thoughts in the comments section.



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