Vicente Padilla Axed From Starting Pitcher Competition, Remains An Option for the Bullpen

Vicente Padilla Axed From Starting Pitcher Competition, Remains An Option for the BullpenSARASOTA, Fla. –– Another pitcher has been slashed out of starting contention. 

Before Friday’s 6-5 loss, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine announced Vicente Padilla would no longer be an immediate candidate for the starting rotation and would be scheduled to toss a one-inning outing in relief.

"That hamstring [injury] retarded his ability to, I think, get enough innings," Valentine said of the 34-year-old.

The skipper's decision isn't exactly music to Padilla's ears. Throughout the spring, the veteran hurler has repeatedly conveyed his desire to start –– and only start –– for the Red Sox.

In the first week of spring training, when asked if he would be willing to pitch in the bullpen, Padilla told NESN.com "probably not…because I want to be a starter and I'd just keep looking for a chance to become a starter."

But Valentine didn't sense any hostility from Padilla. As the manager explained the decision, he was pleased with the Nicaraguan native's reaction to the discussion.

"I thought it was fine," Valentine said. "He was like 'OK. I'm ready to pitch. Whatever you need, OK'. But he explained, and he is, he's a real feel guy. And a lot of times, feel guys need some pitches."

As a result of that potential, Valentine didn't completely close the door on Padilla's starting aspirations.

"He's still in the mix as a starter, as I told him," the skipper said. "Just not 10 days from now."

With the announcement, it leaves Felix Doubront, Alfredo Aceves and Aaron Cook as the lone contenders for the last spot in the Red Sox' rotation.

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