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04/04/2012 - 1:59pm
Red Sox tab Aceves as closer

DETROIT -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that, with Andrew Bailey sidelined for the first half of the season due to surgery on his right thumb, Alfredo Aceves will serve as the Sox' closer at the start of the season. Mark Melancon will be the alternate closer on days when Aceves is not available.

"He loves competition. I think he's one of the better competitors that I've seen," Valentine said of Aceves. "I could be wrong. I haven't seen him up close and personal in battle, but I believe that he's a very good competitor, to say nothing of a very good pitcher."

Valentine said that the decision was made based on what he saw this spring in the pitchers, as well as based on the familiarity of the American League. The Sox skipper added that he would "of course" be open to using Aceves for saves of more than three outs "if necessary."

With Bailey out, the Sox will open the year with 13 pitchers on the...

04/04/2012 - 12:55pm
Boychuk, other Bruins won't go to Ottawa
By: DJ Bean

WILMINGTON - Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara all stayed out on the ice for extra work after Wednesday's practice, and all three players will join Johnny Boychuk in staying behind when the team travels to Ottawa for Thursday's game against the Senators. Of the four players, all but Boychuk will simply be given the game off for rest. 

Boychuk left Tuesday night's loss to the Penguins in the third period with a leg injury, but Claude Julien offered no update on the status of the defenseman aside from the fact that he won't be making the trip. 

Thursday's game will be the first this season in which Bergeron has not played, and it will leave Chris Kelly as the only Bruin to play in each contest. It will be Thomas' second straight scratch as the team aims to keep the reigning Conn Smythe winner fresh for the playoffs. 

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins


04/04/2012 - 12:42pm
Olney on M&M: 'There's tension' around Sox

ESPN baseball reporter Buter Olney made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday and talked about the Red Sox' closing situation and Bobby Valentine's first spring training with Boston.

With Andrew Bailey out 3-4 months, Olney predicts Daniel Bard will head back to the bullpen at some point.

"I think eventually that's the way they're going to go," Olney said. "Because let's face it, given their assets that they have on hand, the easiest solution in the back end of the bullpen if Mark Melancon doesn't grab this by the throat would be to put Bard in that role. I can't see them having [Alfredo] Aceves as their closer the whole year. I just don't see it, for a couple of reasons. One, he hasn't done that in the past. And two, I just think that he's so valuable as a guy you can move around to do different jobs. He obviously did that very well for them last year.

"So, the easiest solution is to call up a guy...

04/04/2012 - 11:09am
Horton skates, not close to return
By: DJ Bean

WILMINGTON -- In an encouraging sign, Bruins forward Nathan Horton and goaltender Tuukka Rask skated for 40 minutes with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides prior to Wednesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. Neither player was on the ice as the team began practice Wednesday. 

"Tuukka's been skating for a few days, and he's coming around," coach Claude Julien said after Wednesday's practice. "We hope to have him with us soon, at least in practice. 

"With Nathan, it's just going out there -- nothing more than just skating and trying to get a feel of how things are. Nothing more than that. He's not close to joining us as we speak. Still keeping our fingers crossed that it's going in the right direction."

Horton has been out since Jan. 22, when he suffered his second concussion in seven months. He tried skating in February but had a setback and was shut back down. Wednesday marks the first...

04/04/2012 - 9:41am
Remy on D&C: Aceves can handle closing

NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy made his first weekly appearance of the 2012 season Wednesday morning on Dennis & Callahan, one day before the Sox open the regular season with a game against the Tigers in Detroit.

The big news this week is the thumb injury to Andrew Bailey that will require surgery and knock the closer out of action for 3-4 months. It's expected that the Sox will go with Alfredo Aceves or Mark Melancon to finish games, although they have converted setup man Daniel Bard in the rotation.

"I've got a feeling [Aceves] can get the job done," Remy said. "Last year, to me, was probably the most valuable pitcher on the team. I think he's got the stuff to be able to get the job done. He certainly has the mentality to get the job done. The problem is the catchers do have to catch him. They never know what he's going to throw. He throws whatever he wants. So, that could be an issue, too, come late in the game. I have...

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