Bobby Valentine Plans to Have Answers to Pitching Questions Shortly

Bobby Valentine Plans to Have Answers to Pitching Questions ShortlyFORT MYERS, Fla. –– The time to sort out the bullpen and rotation has come.

With Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, Aaron Cook, Vicente Padilla, Justin Germano, Andrew Miller and Felix Doubront vying for spots on the starting staff and available bullpen jobs, Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine plans to make cuts shortly.

So far this spring, the majority of the pitchers haven't routinely pitched in a solidified role.

"I'm not happy about any of the relief," Valentine said after the 8-4 defeat against Minnesota. "I've said a few times, attitude filters down from he top. I'm a bit confused about the whole bullpen situation only because we haven't been able to fit the pieces together, so I think that confusion is filtering. Everyone is something other than settled. That's where we have to go from here."

The newfound urgency stems from uncertainty with the situation. Throughout the spring, Valentine has attempted to allot sufficient innings for everyone to compete. But the list of contenders has prevented some from starting games in spring training.

To complicate matters, five Red Sox pitchers are out of options –– Doubront, Miller, Matt Albers, Franklin Morales and Michael Bowden. If any of them aren't tapped for the Opening Day squad, Boston could risk losing them in waivers.

"We're going to collectively map this thing out now," Valentine said. "It's about time to really figure this out. We're going to make some cuts again so we're down to a real manageable number, and we'll have a pretty definitive — we have three appearances left — a pretty definitive role for everyone — not role, but spot they're going to pitch in."

Doubront had an opportunity to seal the deal for the No. 5 spot in the rotation Monday, but regressed in the outing. After he surrendered two runs –– and putting a surplus of runners on base –– against the Twins, Valentine wasn't wholly satisfied.

"I didn't see that nastiness that I wanted to," Valentine said of Doubront. "That killer pitch, that stuff that really differentiates a lot of guys. I'd like to see if he has it. I liked a lot and I wished for more."

Despite yielding eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, Doubront felt comfortable with his performance considering he limited the damage.

"After the bad pitches I threw, I was able to rebound and throw better and get outs with those," Doubront said. "I felt confident and didn't feel any pressure with the runners on base."

The Red Sox skipper expressed his intention to consult with pitching coach Bob McClure and Luis Tiant on ways to proceed with Doubront –– and likely everyone else in the pitching mix.

With the impending returns of Daisuke Matszuka and Rich Hill, the decisions will only become harder.

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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