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Boston Red Sox: Will Daisuke Matsuzaka's Return Push Daniel Bard to Bullpen?

BOSTON, MA - MAY 13:  Manager Bobby Valentine #25 talks with Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox before the game against the Cleveland Indians on April 21, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Brian RoachCorrespondent IMay 16, 2012

Daisuke Matsuzaka is on the verge of being called up to the Boston Red Sox and is currently in Triple-A fine-tuning all of his pitches to bounce back from Tommy John.

The Red Sox have a full starting rotation with the likes of Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard being the most consistent starters in the rotation, but does that make it possible for Matsuzaka to take back his spot in the rotation?

Bard has really started to become the starter that the Red Sox would have loved to have during the epic collapse in September of last year. He is 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA. In his last start, he went six innings and the lone run he allowed came in on a bases-loaded walk in the third inning. He struck out only two batters.

It has been interesting watching Bard mold his pitching style into that of a starting pitcher. He does not use his velocity to dominate just one inning anymore. He has to make sure to stay on the mound for more than five innings each start and that may mean that he will be limited to a certain number of outings before he is shut down for the season.

That's why Bard will return to the bullpen once Andrew Bailey returns.

For some reason, Bard does not want to be the closer for the Red Sox and Bailey will make sure of that when he returns, hopefully, in mid-July.

This will be the time when Matsuzaka will be able to take the fifth spot in the rotation unless he struggles from the get-go.

Matsuzaka has two rehab starts remaining before he gets the call, but maybe he is the one who starts off in the bullpen until a spot in the rotation opens up?

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