Appearing on the Dennis and Callahan Show Thursday morning, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said no guarantees had ever been made to Daniel Bard regarding having a spot in the starting rotation, prior to the season over after the injury sustained to closer Andrew Bailey.
"We didn't promise him anything at any point, and still haven't promised him anything other than he's starting Game 5," Cherington said. "What happened in our conversations over the winter, and ultimately those conversations did include Daniel but at first it was with the staff and with Bobby and the front office. … Every organization in baseball, certainly ours included, is looking for young, controllable starting pitching. The best way to acquire that is through the draft, and international signings, and drafting, and we've had some success doing that with [Jon] Lester, [Clay] Buchholz and Justin Masterson. It's best way to acquire starting pitching and manage a team and manage a payroll.
"Sometimes you need to be a little bit creative, and with Bard we felt that this was a guy who might be able to do it. Here's a guy who is really talented, he's intelligent, he's mature, he's healthy, he has a very stable personality and it's affected by much. … We decided this could impact the team if he could do it, so we gave him a chance to do it in spring training and get ramped up. So we went through spring training and he got a little better every time out. The last couple of outings he did a lot of things starters needed to do."
Cherington said that even after it was learned that Bailey would be out a significant amount of time due to thumb surgery, the organization felt the right move was to keep Bard's progression as a starting pitcher moving forward.
"Right after that Andrew Bailey got hurt, but at that time we've got so much work put into giving Daniel a chance to do that, and in our eyes he proved he deserved a chance to earn a spot in the rotation," the GM said. "And we felt we had some options in the pen, with [Alfredo] Aceves first to close games. It was never really a thought to go back on that decision, but at any point there wasn't a promise to Daniel. It was a matter of giving him every chance to do it. If he could do it there was a chance to help with the team short-term and long-term. But he has to do it in the regular season. … If he can do it, it helps us."
Among the other topics discussed by Cherington was whether or not Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine had to get the go-ahead from from management before committing to doing a weekly radio show in New York.
"He doesn't have to have permission," Cherington said. "There's nothing precluding it. He's in demand more than some other managers would be. All I care about at the end of the day is what's going on in our clubhouse. What's going on with our players. And managing our group of players. I know he's been working his tail off to do the best he can as the manager of the Red Sox."
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