Daniel Bard Silences Minnesota in Relief But Increases Chatter to Return to Bullpen

by NESN Staff

April 24, 2012

Daniel Bard Silences Minnesota in Relief But Increases Chatter to Return to BullpenWith 11 pitches in relief, Daniel Bard quieted Minnesota's bats. But that impressive performance won't silence the chatter surrounding his future as a starter or reliever anytime soon.

After Franklin Morales yielded a leadoff triple in the eighth, Bard — just like old times — marched to the mound to hold down the fort. He achieved that feat, getting Josh Willingham to line out and Ryan Doumit to pop out to short.

Bard bridged the gap for Alfredo Aceves, who notched the save in the 6-5 victory over the Twins. Bard earned the victory, and for the first time in roughly a week, the Red Sox' bullpen looked like a legitimate corps in the clutch.

But it probably won't signal any moves for Bard just yet. Before the game, Bobby Valentine told reporters in Minnesota that the 26-year-old remained on track to make his scheduled start Friday in Chicago.

Since Aaron Cook tossed a complete game Monday in Pawtucket, the odds of him starting for Boston on three days' rest are unlikely. Heading into his scheduled start against the White Sox, Bard anticipates business as usual as a starter.

"I asked a lot of questions as to what [Valentine and Ben Cherington's] goals were on this,? Bard said of his brief bullpen job. "They said right now they have every intention of it being temporary and making my start on Friday."

After the win, Valentine told reporters he thought Bard had "one more inning" left in him during the Minnesota series.

For his part, Bard prepared for the appearance by keeping his starting approach in mind. Instead of unleashing his 99 mph gas, he kept the heat minimal, touching 96 mph on a few occasions in his 11-pitch performance in relief.

As comfortable as Bard looked in his old role, he's still eyeing his progression as starter. With the instability in the bullpen and his reputation in relief, the questions will continue after Monday's game.

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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