Bard, Aceves spring debuts don't tell much

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Bard, Aceves spring debuts don't tell much

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves are attempting to make the transition from the Red Sox bullpen to the starting rotation, but their spring debuts Thursday didn't offer much in the way of a revelation.

For one thing, with both pitchers scheduled, only one (Aceves) could actually start the game. For another, since it was the first outing for both, they were each limited to a single inning -- just as they would be in their former roles.

Aceves allowed a run on three hits in the first, and Bard was touched for a run on two hits in the second.

"It's good to get the first one of the way," said Bard after the Minnesota Twins met the Sox in a spring 'B' game at Hammond Stadium, "get rid of those nerves with hitters in the box. I felt like I made some good pitches, tried some things that I probably wouldn't try in a normal game setting."

"Bard had good pitches, but he was upset with his selection," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He threw a changeup behind in the count 1-and-0, and then he threw the two-seamer after he hung the slider. He wasnt too happy with that.

"But his stuff was all right. He was working on the two-seamer. He didnt get much work on his changeup or his slider, but he pitched out of the windup and got that over with. He pitched out of the stretch and looked okay."

Said catcher Ryan Lavarnway of Bard: "He didn't have good control of his two-seamer today, but his four-seamer was staying true. He had good control of that. He threw a couple of sliders in there.

It's too early for the Sox to evaluate how Bard's stuff is translating as a starter and determine arm strength and stamina. But according to Bard, it won't be too long.

"I haven't gone three innings in a long time," he said, "so that first time going out for the third time is going to be a little different. But I'm not really thinking that far ahead, just taking it one outing at a time."

As an aspiring starter, Bard now finds himself pitching out of the full windup at times, rather than only out of the stretch delivery, as he did in relief. Even that, he said, isn't much of an adjustment.

"I've been doing it so much on my sides since I started working out for the season," Bard said, "so I'm not even thinking about it out there. It just feels like second nature."

Assuming Bard doesn't experience any physical issues, he's virtually assured of making the rotation.

Aceves, though, is likely in more of a spirited battle, with a handful of others vying for the fifth spot: Andrew Miller, Aaron Cook, Ross Ohlendorf, Felix Doubront and Vicenta Padilla are just some of the others.

Still, he said he's not focused on the competition this spring.

"Nothing about that," insisted Aceves. "I'm just do whatever I have to do to do my job. The result is going to come. I'm working more on my health and get back to the level I was. I'm not competing against nobody. I think every single (potential starter) has a chance to be in the rotation. But we're here to contribute as a team, for a purpose."

Aceves gave up a run on three hits, though one was an infield dribbler.

"I thought he threw the ball pretty well," said Lavarnway. "His curveball had good angle on it. His fastball had good life."

"Acves was okay," said Valentine. "He threw a lot of pitches that he wanted to work on. He was okay with his work, so I was okay with his work."

Unlike Bard, who has been strictly a reliever in the big leagues, Aceves has been more of a swing man in his career. Last year, he made 51 appearances out of the bullpen, and four more as a fill-in starter.

"Personal opinion, I like to start more," said Aceves. "I'm someone who can eat innings. But right now, we're working on getting back on track like I was last year."

Evan Turner: 'Hopefully it’s not my last game in a Celtics uniform'

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Evan Turner: 'Hopefully it’s not my last game in a Celtics uniform'

BOSTON - With 44.7 seconds remaining in Thursday's Game 6 loss to the Celtics, Evan Turner was removed.

His hope is, though, is that it's not the last time he walks off the court as a member of the Boston Celtics.

Turner, who signed a 2 year, $6,703,510 contract with Boston two offseasons ago is now headed for unrestricted free agency, and after two successful seasons in Boston in which he turned his game around, is due for a bit of a pay day.

Will Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge be the guy who gives it to him? Turner hopes so, but at this stage it's too soon to say.

"I really don't know," Turner said about his future in Boston. "I would love to come back but at the same time, lot of things, lot of variables that are going to occur and things like that that I can't control. Whenever July hits we'll talk about it."

Turner knows that Ainge's job is to do what's best for the Celtics. In that same sense, Turner has to do what's best for him, which means joining a team that checks off all the boxes. So what are those boxes?

"Just fit obviously," Turner said. "I want to get a decent amount of money, you know what I'm saying? But at the same time the fit is going to be huge and the opportunity to play on a winning team. I have played on [crap] teams a couple times and it's not fun. But obviously the fit, the opportunity to play, and the opportunity to progress and win."

It just so happens that Turner was able to do all those things in Boston. Just taking a look at his last contract, it's easy to see he wasn't wanted by many other teams in the NBA. Labeling Turner a "reclamation project" might be a bit of a stretch, but not by much. Either way, Brad Stevens was able to get to him and by the end of his two year deal was one of Stevens' favorite players, and one he counted on in just about every big situation. Turner played so well in whatever role was given to him that he ended up in the running for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award.

Whether or not Turner does return to Boston, he knows how much Stevens has done for his career. Turner can expect to cash in on a deal that will earn him north of $10 million per season this summer.

"He's done a lot. He's a smart guy. He rekindled my fire for the game. Just enjoy it," Turner said.  I think he's definitely helped us all becoming better pros and doing the little things. I think everybody in this locker room he's put in positions to succeed so definitely appreciate that and most importantly off the court he's a great friend and great guy."

But the love goes beyond Stevens. It goes through the organization to the fans and the city. Turner couldn't help but think walking off the court that it could all be just a memory in a couple months.

"It’s a thought for sure," Turner said. "I love playing for the Celtics, I love the city and everything. It’s definitely been a blessing. Hopefully it’s not my last game in a Celtics uniform. The coolest thing is to wear the uniform. I don’t take that for granted. The tradition and opportunity and the energy around it is great."

The feeling seems mutual, but as always in the end, money talks.

Quotes, notes and stars: Location gets Buchholz in trouble

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Quotes, notes and stars: Location gets Buchholz in trouble

Quotes, notes and stars from the Boston Red Sox' 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

 

QUOTES:

"When he's gotten in trouble, it's been a combination of location and pitches up in the strike zone. That was the case tonight. . . It's more general location than one pitch that he's getting burned on. '' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz's poor start.

"No disrespect to (Jace) Peterson, but you're wanting to force contact. He hasn't hit for a high average.'' - Farrell on Buchholz walking No. 7 hitter Peterson three times.

"When do you walk guys, you do your best to try to minimize the damage and I didn't do a good enough job of that.'' - Buchholz, who saw Peterson come around to score twice after his three walks.

"It's frustrating when you can't put your finger on what you need to do it, and when you need to do it and why. All I can do right now is learn from it and get better in these next couple of days.'' - Buchholz.

"I didn't hear anything. The play was right in front of me, so I couldn't see him say anything. I just assumed I was out.'' - Xander Bogaerts, who was ruled safe at second on a force play by umpire Joe West, but believing he was out, came off the bag and was tagged out in the first inning.

 

NOTES

* Clay Buchholz has allowed five earned runs in four of his five starts this season.

* Heath Hembree pitched multiple innings for the fourth time this season and remains unscored upon in them.

* Over the last eight games, Dustin Pedroia is hitting .436 (17-for-39) with nine extra-base hits.

* All three of Chris Young's hit off lefthanded pitchers this season have been doubles.

* Hanley Ramirez (three hits, two RBI) has driven in a run in each of his last four games and six of his last seven.

* The Sox have scored in the first inning in eight of the last nine games.

 

STARS:

1) Nick Markakis

The Braves right fielder had a four hit night and knocked in three runs.

2) Jhoulys Chacin

Atlanta's starter wasn't overpowering, but he limited the Sox to two runs over five-plus innings and earned the victory.

3) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez broke out a bit at the plate with three hits, while knocking in the first two Red Sox runs.