Monday March 26, 2012 | 12:23 PM

Daniel Bard said he felt good about being a starting pitcher, despite giving up five runs in six innings on Sunday.

More importantly, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine agreed and said Bard looked good.

Several readers, in their emails, and in a few comments below today's column, disagreed.

They have a point, in that results will be what determines if Bard can stay in the rotation when the season begins.

Bard (shown at right in a 2008 photo when he was a Sea Dogs reliever) will need to eat innings and win games.

Same goes for Felix Doubront. He has good stuff, but must show it consistently.

How important is it to establish the back end of the rotation right now? Free agent Aaron Cook signed a minor league contract but can opt out if he is not on the major league team by May.

And there is the issue of Daisuke Matsuzaka. Maybe Tommy John surgery has made him new and improved? He is due back in June.

In other words, setting the rotation is a work in progress. Bard using all his pitches and feeling good on Sunday is a big step. Producing results will make everyone feel good about Bard being a starter.

One last bit of trivia to chew on. One of the keys to success for the 2004 World Champion team was that the rotation of Martinez, Schilling, Wakefield, Lowe and Arroyo stayed healthy and effective all season. But Bronson Arroyo was not the solid choice as the No 5 starter. Byung-Hyun Kim got a few starts early in the season.

So the Nos. 4 and 5 starters may chance from April to May to June. The key for the Red Sox is to continue having quality choices for those spots.

Today, the Red Sox are playing the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. We will be having updates on twitter: ClearTheBases


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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