Boston Red Sox general manager, Ben Cherington, told the Boston Herald that Daniel Bard is capable of pitching in any role for the Red Sox.
He must have forgotten to mention that only applied to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Just a few years ago the beleaguered pitcher was supposed to be the heir apparent to Jonathan Papelbon (now the Philadelphia Phillies closer). That was during the Theo Epstein-Terry Francona Era. Once Bobby Valentine got to town it was stated that the hard-throwing right-handed reliever would enter the startling rotation in 2012. It was a curious move given pundits believed that Bard lacked the complete arsenal to be effective in the rotation.
Now Bard finds himself the odd man out as Daisuke Matsuzaka will take his spot in the Red Sox rotation come Saturday. He is the same Dice-K that hasn't been a significant pitcher since 2008.
"Daniel knows very clearly what he needs to do to get himself back to being an elite pitcher," Cherington said on Wednesday. "That's what he's going to go down to do. When he does that, we think he can pitch in whatever role he's asked to pitch in. He's got to get back to the fundamentals of what makes him really good."
Meanwhile, Joba Chamberlain took a positive step in his recovery from a life-threatening trampoline accident that left him with a significant ankle injury. Throwing off of a half-mound on Sunday, he reported progress on his attempt to pitch again for the Yankees in 2012. When asked about his progress, manager Joe Girardi said his main concern is how his ankle will hold up. "I'm sure he can move around enough," stated Girardi. "I think his arm is going to be fine.The question is going to be: 'Can he tolerate the pounding? Cover first base; land as a pitcher and push off as a pitcher?' "
In other words, it looks to be September at best for Chamberlain.
Chamberlain missed most of 2011 thanks to an elbow injury.
Like Bard, there have been numerous questions and concerns about what the long term prospects for Chamberlain would be even before the injuries. Erratic at times, he closed effectively when asked to do so in 2010 but he has walked 150 batters in 380 career innings pitched. That's hardly elite.
Where does he fit in the plans of the New York Yankees? Who knows at this point. If he can simply come back this season to provide some needed innings in the bullpen the Bombers will be satisfied.
Daniel Bard and Joba Chamberlain are both enormous talents. Will either be able to harness those talents in the long run? Only time will tell.
Sources: Yahoo! Sports
Robert Watkins is former investment professional and partner. A native New Yorker until 9/11, he considers Pa. his adoptive home. A passionate Yankees fan and Pennsylvania sports enthusiast, Robert is a frequent contributor to Yahoo! Sports and News.
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