Doubront, Bard named to starting rotation


Doubront, Bard named to starting rotation

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.

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas visiting hip specialists, no decision yet on surgery

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas visiting hip specialists, no decision yet on surgery

BOSTON – The last 2 1/2 games for the Celtics have come without Isaiah Thomas (right hip) and it has certainly been a factor in Boston trailing Cleveland 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals heading into tonight’s must-win for the Celtics to keep their season alive.
There have been rumors that if the series with Cleveland were closer, maybe that would lead to a return to the floor for Thomas.
“No. No way. He’s done [this season],” Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s "Toucher & Rich" show this morning.
Ainge said there’s still swelling in the hip, and it probably won’t go down enough for doctors to make a determination whether surgery is needed for another couple weeks.

Thomas was in New York City earlier this week visiting a hip specialist. He's expected to consult with at least two more before making a decision as to what's the best course of treatment.
“Everybody agrees if there’s anything that needs to be done to it surgically, it helps...if the inflammation goes down,” Ainge said. “The recovery [time] would be quicker.”
The injury initially occurred on March 15 against Minnesota.
Ainge said he didn’t become too concerned about it until after Thomas re-aggravated it in Game 6 of the second-round series against Washington and was questionable to play in Game 7.
“I was worried going into the Cleveland series that he was nowhere near himself in Game 1 or 2,” Ainge said. “And Game 2 in the second quarter it was clear he was in a lot of pain. No way we could go out and allow him to play the second half.”
Boston was blown out 130-86 in Game 2. In the first half, Thomas had two points and six assists, while missing all six of his shots from the field.
Ainge said there was “a lot” of irritation and inflammation around the affected joint in Thomas' right hip.
“It had gotten worse from the MRIs he had before,” said Ainge, who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”

Butler reaction to Gilmore signing: 'We got another good player'

Butler reaction to Gilmore signing: 'We got another good player'

FOXBORO -- Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium gave reporters their first opportunity to see both Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore on the field at the same time.

Once Gilmore signed with the Patriots earlier this offseason, there was no guarantee he'd actually team up with the 27-year-old in his fourth season out of West Alabama. But Butler wasn't given an offer sheet by the Saints or anyone else, he wasn't traded, and now together they make up one of the most talented cornerback duos in the NFL. 

"Um, nothing much really," Butler replied when asked for his initial reaction to the Gilmore deal. "Nothing much really. We got a better player. We got another player. We got another good player on this team. Anything to help the team win, I'm down with."

Depite the fact that Gilmore is the one who received the big-money contract from the Patriots earlier this year, Butler had nothing but good things to say about his teammate following Thursday's workout. 

"He brings the size and the coverage skills," Butler said. "One of the best guys in the league. Very underrated. [He's] come in, head down, working hard. Just trying to build off each other no matter what."

Butler acknowledged that the corner group, which also includes Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones, has some work to do when it comes to their communication, but he indicated he'll be happy to chip in wherever he's needed. The Patriots could use some help in the slot following Logan Ryan's departure to Tennessee, and Butler said he'd be open to playing inside.

"Wherever they put me, I'm gonna play that role," he said. "I'm ready to play the slot if that's what it is."