Red Sox News & Notes – 4/23

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine reacts as he walks back to the dugout after relieving pitcher Alfredo Aceves during the eighth inning of American League MLB baseball action against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts April 21, 2012.

Maybe the rain that canceled last night’s game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox was just what the home team needed before heading out on the road.

The Red Sox are scuffling right now, there’s no doubt about that. So maybe a day of rest and relaxation was needed. A chance to put aside the start of the season and start fresh.

You have to think the injuries are a big reason why the Red Sox are in the position they are in right now.

They started out the season with their closer Andrew Bailey on the disabled list. He’s a guy who has end of the game experience. Then you have left fielder Carl Crawford on the disabled list. Granted he had his struggles last year but big things were expected for him. Then you have All-Star center fielder and AL MVP runner-up Jacoby Ellsbury go down with an injury leaving you with a very depleted outfield.

And to make matters worse, Jason Repko, the man who “replaced” Ellsbury, is now heading to the disabled list after making a great catch on Friday afternoon. His roster spot is being taken by Lars Anderson, who has played eight games in the outfield in his career, and all of those have come this season with the PawSox.

Ben Cherington pulled off a trade with his buddy Theo Epstein to get Marlon Byrd to play center field until Ellsbury returns. This move equates to put a patch on a tire until you have time to get it fixed.

Byrd is hitting .070 with three hits on the season. But he’s an adequate outfielder who will at least help out defensively. Maybe the change of scenery will get him going offensively.

We all want to place blame on skipper Bobby Valentine. Most of us didn’t like him because he replaced our beloved Terry Francona so he already had two strikes against him out of the game. But Valentine isn’t to blame.

Sure he had a rough week, maybe the roughest of his life. He made a couple of questionable managerial calls. But he’s not out there throwing a pitch or hitting the ball. He’s just putting out who he thinks is the best players.

Obviously, the starting pitching hasn’t been there. They, as a whole, have had some rough outings but the signs are there that they will come around. Those same signs though are not there for the bullpen.

It’s taking on water quickly and slowly sinking. The bullpen essentially needs an “Extreme Makeover”. But it’s not like you can just go out there and grab bullpen guys this early in the season.

The bullpen will get some temporary help as last night’s starter Daniel Bard is available out of the bullpen tonight and maybe tomorrow before making his regularly scheduled start on Friday.

Personally, I think this move needs to be permanent, at least for this season. You have Aaron Cook who seems to be ready to pitch again in the big leagues. And with Cook having an opt-out clause of May 1st if he’s not in the big leagues, you have a week to make that decision as well. Right now the Red Sox can’t afford to lose him and taking Bard out of the rotation makes the most sense right now.

You also have Daisuke Matsusaka starting his 30-day rehab assignment tonight with the Salem Red Sox. So when his rehab time is up, you have to make another decision. At least, they’ll have a month to determine that.

But for now, we just need to hope that things turn around quickly for our beloved team. Otherwise, we may need to strap in for a long season of second guessing and the what if’s.

We’ll be back later with today’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let’s take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

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Cody Ross Diary: Rough start to 2012 [Cody Ross – ESPN Boston]

Byrd makes a happy landing in Boston [Boston Globe]

Not catching too much flak [Boston Globe]

Red Sox put Bard back in the bullpen – for now [Boston Globe]

Marlon Byrd lands in outfield [Boston Herald]

Joe Girardi denied longer look at righty Daniel Bard [Boston Herald]

Rain offers Red Sox reprieve [Boston Herald]

Once again, Daniel Bard in ‘pen [Boston Herald]

Debunking myths as the Red Sox, Bobby Valentine try to weather the storm [Rob Bradford –]

Byrd returns to Fenway after nasty Aceves HBP [CSN New England]

Byrd ready to find his swing in Boston [CSN New England]

Valentine critical of managerial performance [CSN New England]

Skipping Bard not an easy decision for Valentine [CSN New England]

Tito on Fenway 100: ‘I’m glad I went’ [ESPN Boston]

Edes puts Sox mess in perspective [ESPN Boston]

Boston Red Sox pitching staff has been epically bad in April [ESPN Boston]

Red Sox Skip Daniel Bard’s Turn in Starting Rotation, Plan to Use Him in Relief Role Against Minnesota []

Bobby Valentine Assesses His Managerial Performance, Admits ‘I Need to Do Better’ []

Marlon Byrd Excited to Join Red Sox As Veteran Outfielder Adds Needed Depth in Red Sox Outfield []

Report: Red Sox, Cardinals ‘Reaching Out’ to Roy Oswalt (Video) []

Red Sox newcomer Byrd ‘ready to win’ []

Valentine says he needs to do better []

Bard to make short foray into Boston’s bullpen []

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New EnglandESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, and WEEI websites.

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photo credit: Reuters Pictures