The last thing that the Boston Red Sox needed just before Opening Day was to learn that closer Andrew Bailey was going to need surgery to repair a thumb injury on his pitching hand, according to Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald. Boston is still unsure of how long Bailey will be out, but it isn't looking good.
Boston recently made several roster moves and announced that both Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard would start the season in the starting rotation as the No. 4 and 5 pitchers. This, of course, came before the Red Sox really knew that Bailey's injury was this serious.
The question that has risen is if Boston should take Daniel Bard out of the starting rotation and move him back to the bullpen, serving as the closer until Bailey is healthy.
Ever since Boston missed the playoffs last season, all the talk was directed towards Daniel Bard transitioning into a starting pitcher. The Red Sox have worked all spring training on Bard, increasing his pitch counts and having him develop other pitches in order for him to truly have starter qualities.
Even though he didn't have the best stat lines during his spring starts, he's become more comfortable on the mound and Bobby Valentine felt that it was in both Bard's and Boston's best interest to keep him as a starter.
Why ruin all of that now since a reliever went down? Moving Bard back to the bullpen would not only negate any progress he made this spring, but would probably keep him in the bullpen for the rest of his career. We wouldn't want to see Boston keep switching him between the rotation and bullpen, like the New York Yankees did with Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.
Let's also not forget that Boston still has Alfredo Aceves and former Houston Astros closer Mark Melancon in the bullpen for the end of the game. Is there no trust in them? Aceves was arguably Boston's best reliever last season and Melancon did a good job closing games for a terrible Astros team.
If Boston is smart, they will let Bard stay in the rotation and take their chances with Aceves and Melancon getting the job done at the end of the game. If they decide to move Bard back to the 'pen, buckle your seat belts Red Sox Nation, it's going to be a long season.