Speaking on WEEI this morning, Daniel Bard made two things clear: first, that he doesn't care what role he fills for the Red Sox as long as it helps the team win, and second that the Boston bullpen doesn't need any help.
"I'm a pitcher. I don't see myself as locked into any one role," Bard said. "Right now I'm a middle reliever, I'm just going to be the best one I can be. If that means pitching in a different role down the road, whether that's pitching the ninth inning or pitching the first inning, I'm open to it."
Bard, who has been cast as second-fiddle to Jonathan Papelbon, may have a great opportunity before him should Papelbon sign elsewhere in the offseason ahead, but he clearly isn't too worried about it right now.
It's unsurprising that Bard believes in the bullpen, but it's a bit surprising that his beliefs are validated - after all, they lost lefty specialist Rich Hill to Tommy John surgery, can't keep presumed seventh-inning guy Bobby Jenks healthy and haven't gotten the best numbers from Papelbon.
But Bard's team-record of 21 straight scoreless innings is a big reason for their success, as is the performance of Matt Albers and of Alfredo Aceves, who has worn as many hats as Boston's needed him to thus far this season.