Valentine encouraged by Bard's progression

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Valentine encouraged by Bard's progression

BOSTON -- Daniel Bard makes his sixth start of the season on Sunday. He enters the game 2-4 with a 4.83 ERA, and is coming off of two straight losses.

But Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is pleased with the progression Bard has made from the bullpen to having a regular spot in the rotation.

"He's come along nicely," said Valentine before Bard's start against the Cleveland Indians Sunday at Fenway Park. "His pitch selection is good. His pitch repertoire is good. His mound presence is good. His fielding ability is good. His ability to hold runners is good. His competitiveness is good. His endurance has been good. I think he's made the transition pretty nicely."

Valentine said that he has looked at other Major League pitchers -- and more specifically, hard throwers -- who have made the successful transition from the bullpen to the rotation, and still hasn't had a conversation with anyone about an innings count for the young righty.

"At the beginning of the year, we didn't think that there was going to be an innings count," said Valentine. "We'll have to see. That was never a conversation, really, that we've had yet."

As for the adjustments that Valentine has seen Bard make through his first five starts of his young career, the Red Sox manager pointed out that Bard has made it a point to throw more strikes.

"Last game, I saw him putting his fastball in play a lot, which is really a good thing," said Valentine. "Earlier in the season, he was throwing his slider a little harder. It had a little harder break. Now he's throwing it a little more for strikes, trying to get it over the plate a few more times."

Pomeranz scratched from last start, could pitch out of bullpen in playoffs

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Pomeranz scratched from last start, could pitch out of bullpen in playoffs

NEW YORK -- With the postseason just over a week away, it didn't appear that Drew Pomeranz was going to be part of the Red Sox' starting rotation.

On Tuesday, that became official.

Pomeranz was scratched from his last scheduled start of the regular season Thursday with some soreness in his forearm. Henry Owens will take his turn against the Yankees.

"He's come out of this last start (in Tampa Bay) a little bit more sore,'' said John Farrell. "There's been a need for additinal recovery time (and there's also) the total number of innings pitched. There's a number of factors.

"The forearm area is where he's experiencing some discomfort. He needs a few extra days. So combined with his career high in innings pitched (169.1), we're backing him out of his last start.''

Farrell emphasized that Pomeranz hadn't been shut down for the season, but did say that if the lefty pitched again, it would be out of the bullpen.

"We need to get him back on a mound,'' Farrell said, "hopefully by the end of the week to determine what role he'll have in the bullpen going forward.''

The fact that the Red Sox were a win -- or a Toronto loss -- away from clinching the division and have the luxury of being careful didn't have an impact on the decision to hold him out.

"You always put the player's health at the forefront,'' said Farrell. "Is this increased risk with the higher number of innings, or additional needed recovery time? You factor those in. This is independent of the standings.''

Pomeranz appeared to have been squeezed out of playoff rotation, with the four spots going to Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Clay Buchholz.

In 13 starts, Pomeranz was 3-5 with a 4.68 ERA with the Red Sox after being obtained in a July trade with San Diego.

Two weeks ago, the Padres were disciplined for not fully disclosing all the necessary medical information with the Red Sox leading up to the deal, with GM A.J. Preller suspended for 30 days without pay.

It's unclear whether this injury is at all related to info the Padres withheld from the Red Sox.

"I can't really comment on that,'' Farrell said. "I do know what the player needs is some additional time. What's attached to that previously, I really don't have the specifics.''