FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves has the feeling that there was not anything he could have done on the mound to get himself into the rotation.
While coincidentally breaking some news about Josh Beckett's right thumb, Aceves on Monday also explained his reaction from the day before, when manager Bobby Valentine told the pitcher he was going to the bullpen because Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront were named the Red Sox's final two starters.
"If [Beckett] doesn't start the second game, I will start the second game and the first game at home," said Aceves. "That's what [Valentine] said. And then he said, 'But [for] now, you're going to be in the bullpen. I like Felix Doubront,' he said, 'because he's lefty.' OK, that's his approach, and he said that [with Daniel] Bard, the organization wants to give him the chance. So I've got no chance. It doesn't matter how good you throw, you know? You're still not going to pitch."
Valentine said Aceves was upset on Sunday when the news was delivered, but Aceves on Monday said he was not mad.
"Of course not. No, man," Aceves said. "He said, 'You're going to be in the bullpen,' and yesterday he said, 'How would I feel to throw in the eighth inning?' I said, 'I feel good.' I said, 'I'm good. What about the ninth?' Same. 'Maybe you want to start the season as a closer?' I said, 'OK, it doesn't matter if I pitch in the eighth or ninth. It doesn't matter.' I said, 'You've got to let me know ... what's happening."
Aceves or Mark Melancon could fill in for Andrew Bailey if Bailey's right thumb lands him on the disabled list. By Sunday evening, pitching coach Bob McClure said Aceves had calmed down.
"He's fine now," McClure said Sunday. "He's a team guy, and that's been his focal point the whole time, 'Whatever I can do best for the team.' And will he start at some point? I don't know. Will he close at some point? I don't know. But he's a very versatile person, and what he's basically told us, 'Whatever I can do to help the team, that's what I'm going to do.'"
Valentine regrets not seeing Crawford in action
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- On the Red Sox's last day in Florida, manager Bobby Valentine said he and his coaches were very satisfied with how it all went, from their baseball accomplishments to the new complex, JetBlue Park. But that didn't leave him without one regret.
Carl Crawford's Grapefruit League season was wiped out by the left fielder's surgically repaired left wrist, and Valentine was not able to get a first-hand look at Crawford on the field because of the injury.
"Is that the word, disappointment? Whatever it is, [not seeing Crawford is] the only thing that I probably regret," Valentine said. "You know that will complicate matters possibly as we move forward, but it is what it is. I would have loved to have seen him in games, got to work with him, talk with him down here in this practice environment. [The] first time I'm going to see him in uniform with me will be in that real environment."
Crawford is one of several injured Red Sox players who will not travel with the team north for an exhibition game against the Nationals on Tuesday in Washington D.C., and beyond that to Detroit for Opening Day.
"Slowly ahead," Valentine said of Crawford's progress. "He's progressing exactly like we want him to progress and hope he just doesn't get offline. ... This weather has been great. There's no reason for him to try do anything [outside of the team's Spring Training complex] where weather might interrupt his progress."
Crawford likely will go on a rehab assignment.
"I'll bet that he does [go for rehab]," Valentine said. "It's not necessary. I've seen guys go from at-bats down here to the big leagues."
Among the other players recovering from injuries whom the Red Sox are not traveling with are pitchers Chris Carpenter, Bobby Jenks, Rich Hill, Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lackey and Andrew Miller. Outfielder Ryan Kalish will stay behind as well.