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Jonathan Papelbon likes Daniel Bard as a starter

Feb 18, 2012, 3:16 PM EDT

Daniel Bard, Jonathan Papelbon Getty Images

Jonathan Papelbon‘s exit from Boston was expected to clear the way for Daniel Bard to step in as the Red Sox’s closer, but the 26-year-old has made the move to the rotation instead and Papelbon, speaking from Phillies camp in Florida, thinks that might well be for the best:

I actually had a long talk with Daniel this offseason about that. I’m excited to see what he can do. I think Daniel has a phenomenal career ahead of him, and in my opinion, there’s no reason why he can’t start. I think Daniel can do whatever he wants to do. He’s that good. And he’s matured into a phenomenal pitcher and is only going to get better, and I think the sky’s the limit for him. It truly, really is.

Five years ago this spring, Papelbon was asked to make a similar move, though he later made it clear that he preferred the pen. Bard seems to be embracing the change, and while it’s doubtful he’ll come close to throwing 200 innings for the Red Sox this year, he could prove to be an excellent fourth starter behind Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz.

(Oh, and yes, that’s a picture of Papelbon and Bard practicing archery at Fenway Park. In between games of a doubleheader, no less.)

  1. Jack Marshall - Feb 18, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I don’t know why there has been so much skepticism about Bard’s chances of succeeding as a starter. The Red Sox have has several success stories and not many failures with that switch—Derek Lowe, Greg Harris, Bill Lee. Bard has electric stuff; why not?

    • Louie Schuth - Feb 18, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      The most common reason is that he’s basically a two pitch pitcher.

      • baseballisboring - Feb 19, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        Basically, but A) they’re two really good pitches, and B) he really just needs an average changeup to get by as a starter. And being a Sox fan I’ve obviously seen him pitch a lot, and I’ve seen him throw some nasty ones at random times throughout the season. He doesn’t use it much, surely it needs to be refined, but it looks like it has potential. I’ve been optimistic about the Bard experiment from the beginning.

      • Louie Schuth - Feb 19, 2012 at 2:45 PM

        I don’t disagree that he has potential. I think he has enormous potential, I was just stating the reason that people have skepticism.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 18, 2012 at 9:20 PM

      He hasn’t been a starter since single A in 2007. And he was pretty awful….

      • baseballisboring - Feb 19, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        He’s a way different and better pitcher now though.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 19, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        Because he’s a reliever now. He’s able to live at a higher velocity and not work through the order multiple times.

  2. canowack - Feb 18, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    So archery has been added to the list of extracurricular activities by the pitchers? Glad he brought it out on the field instead of keeping it in the under the influence clubhouse…

  3. drewzducks - Feb 18, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    I feel bad for the chicken on the other end of that arrow.

  4. pisano - Feb 19, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    I think Papelbum ought to worry about himself rather than Bard. If he gets off to a slow start the Philly fans will turn on him as the Boston fans did when he was giving up the long ball to lose games.

  5. uyf1950 - Feb 19, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    It’s going to be very interesting to see how Bard does having to go 5, 6 or even 7 innings and pacing himself. Instead of throwing 98 or 99 MPH fastballs bringing it down to about 95 mph and just as important at least in my mind getting stretched out from going 75 innings in a season to 175 innings if not more. A lot of questions to be answered.

    And let’s not forget the memory of this past September still has to linger in his mind.

  6. voiceofreason41 - Feb 19, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    I have nothing but admiration and respect for Paps. I’m happy he got paid since it wasn’t going to happen in Boston. He was a HUGE part of our success and I’m glad to see him move on to bigger (and maybe better) things. Louie made a great point earlier–Bard is a two pitch pitcher. He better have something else up his sleeve this year if he wants a chance it sunishinging in the $$$$.

  7. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 19, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    this move will end up being a total disaster, case closed

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