FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In revealing the Red Sox starting rotation plans for the beginning of the regular season, manager Bobby Valentine Sunday morning hinted that an undisclosed injury in the bullpen affected his decision-making.
Though Valentine didn't say so, the issue involves a right thumb injury that has been bothering closer Andrew Bailey, according to a baseball source. Bailey has pitched in a big league game just once in the last 10 days.
The last time Bailey pitched, it was in a minor league game, which would seem to indicate that the Sox are contemplating placing him the disabled list to start the season. It's much easier to backdate a player -- placing him on the DL retroactively -- when he hasn't pitched in a major league spring training game in a while.
Valentine chose Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard as his fourth and fifth starters respectively, with Alfredo Aceves ticketed for the bullpen, in part because of his versatility and value there.
But Valentine said part of the motivation was that he wasn't sure about his back-end relievers.
"A little,'' said Valentine. "If I answer that the way I should answer it, you'll be confused because you don't have all the information. But the answer is yes. I think there might be a health situation -- there might be.''
Additionally, because of that instability in the back of the bullpen, the 25th spot on the roster -- which Valentine said Saturday would likely go to a position player, may now instead go to a 13th pitcher.
Previously, it was believed that Pedro Ciriaco, Nate Spears and Jason Repko were battling for the utility spot.