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Despite that assurance from his pitcher, Valentine said before Tuesday night’s game against the Blue Jays he was not prepared to commit to Bard as his fourth starter, and after Bard went five innings in Tuesday night’s 9-2 loss, Valentine said he was still hedging his bets.
Valentine could just be leaving his options open, but while Bard came out of Tuesday night’s outing encouraged -- outside of Toronto’s three-run second inning -- especially by how strong he felt at the end, Valentine mentioned potential red flags. Like the seven walks in Bard’s last 7 2/3 innings (three Tuesday night) and the fact he only threw one changeup, a pitch Valentine believes he’ll need.
“It’s real hard for me to figure,’’ Valentine said of how to evaluate the walks, either as normal for this time of spring or an indicator of more urgent problems. “But that’s exactly what I’m looking at or wondering. I don’t think even with his good stuff I can handle his walks.
“I don’t know if it’s spring [training]. That’s why I looked for the changeup. If that pitch was uncomfortable and causing the negative counts, I could use that as an excuse. This is not an exact science. I don’t proclaim to think I’m going to have the exact answer, the right answer in this short sampling. It’s tough. We’ll figure it out.’’
ESPNBoston | Valentine on Bard: Coy or indecision?
This is the second straight day we find Bobby V having trouble making a decision. Yesterday he was having trouble committing to Felix Doubront. Today, it's Daniel Bard.
This decision will be easier than number 5. Bobby will get organizational push to start Bard, as he's more valuable trying that out than continuing to be in middle relief. But as I've said roughly eight trillion times, it's pretty unlikely he stretches all the way out to a 200-inning horse this year. So Bobby will get to revisit this decision in the early summer anyway.
I think the decision is a result of how things went down last year. He wants everyone to know he's calling the shots. So just because Daniel Bard thinks he's a starter, he's not. Not until Bobby V gives the OK.
But for now, just say it: Bard's a starter. Don't leave us with the possibility of Aaron Cook AND Felix Doubront. One is enough.
On page 2, one of the Red Sox greats dies.
Mel Parnell, the winningest left-hander in Boston Red Sox history, died Tuesday after battling cancer, according to reports from his hometown of New Orleans, he was 89 years old.
Parnell spent his entire 10-year career with Boston, pitching for the Sox from 1947 to 1956. His best season was 1949, when he was 25-7 with a 2.77 ERA. Parnell led the American League in wins and complete games (27), and started the All-Star Game.
ESPNBoston | Mel Parnell dead at 89
Parnell was one of the best Sox pitchers of all time. When you look at his stats, it's actually kind of amusing though. The best WHIP he ever threw was 1.32; his career was over 1.40. In 1954 he led the league in walks...and received MVP votes. It was a different time.
He had a great run from ages 26 to 31, where he pitched well over 200 innings every year and amassed the majority of his career 123 wins. He faded away after that, but had a great prime. And he probably made about 12 bucks in the process.
If you're a subscriber, BostonGlobe.com has a full obituary.
ESPNBoston | Who's managing Bobby V? | Belichick visits Sox | Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 2 | Miller comes out after just three pitches | Padilla strains hamstring in weight room | CSNNE | Bard sees improvements in five innings of work | Farrell: Bard will need ample time for pitching transition | McAdam: Will Valentine's candor wear on Red Sox? | Herald | Daniel Bard pleads case | Expectations wildly high | Mike Aviles never short on inspiration | Globe | A retro fit for Matsuzaka | Bard looks better this time | Image: LobShots