FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Weeks of suspense and speculation ended Sunday morning when Bobby Valentine tabbed Felix Doubront as his No. 4 starter and Daniel Bard as his No. 5, sending an unhappy Alfredo Aceves to the bullpen.
"Felix, I think, had the best spring of anyone if we just went on results,'' said Valentine. "But he also progressed the way we hoped he would progress, physically and mentally, to the point where we think he could be a very good major league starting pitcher.
"Daniel came in and progressed exactly as we hoped he would progress, so we just felt that it was, at this time, the right thing to do.''
Choosing Doubront and Bard meant sending Aceves back to the bullpen. Aceves seemed upset by the news, gesturing angrily as he was spoken to by Valetine and pitching coach Bob McClure.
"He talked (earlier) and expressed his desire and his life's dream (was to be a starter),'' said Valentine. "I like to be a dream-maker, not a dream-breaker. He wasn't happy about it, obviously, but I told him that he has a very, very important role on this team. I think he's one of the best pitchers in camp.
"Trying to figure out where we need him the most is a very difficult, perplexing problem. I could see him pitching at the end of games very easily.''
Valentine expressed that Aceves "didn't lose the job...but when we look at the situation on the team, it seems he has incredible value not being locked down for (just) one day.''
He added that the reason the Sox put Doubront fourth and Bard fifth is to avoid having two lefties (Doubront at No. 5 and Jon Lester No. 1) pitching back-to-back.