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Alfredo Aceves rolls through ‘a day at the beach’

03.06.12 at 9:55 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Alfredo Aceves takes nothing about pitching lightly. He only makes it seem that way.

The right-hander, in his second outing of the spring, worked two perfect innings that appeared almost effortless. He required just 26 pitches (19 strikes) to buzz through a half-dozen Orioles hitters (albeit a relatively unimpressive group that made the trip to Fort Myers from Sarasota), striking out a pair.

‘€œIt just looked like it was a day at the beach for him,’€ said Sox manager Bobby Valentine. ‘€œHe was throwing the ball well, hit his spots and used more pitches and different type pitches than Daniel [Bard] did. They all seemed to be pretty effective.’€

The Red Sox are still deliberating on how best to employ Aceves. The right-hander was dominant as a reliever last year, a unique animal in his ability to take over a game for three, four, even five innings at a time in relief.

Aceves had 13 relief outings of three or more innings, tied for the most by any reliever in a single season this century. In those contests, he was devastating, going 7-0 with a 1.38 ERA.

That suggests that he is capable of being a significant contributor as a starter, given the demonstrated ability to sustain his stuff across multiple innings. At the same time, he also proved capable of contributing in numerous roles as a reliever, whether in a traditional setup role or as a long man.

The Sox, in fact, gave some consideration to the possibility of trying him as a closer this spring, though for now, the team is focused on figuring out what he can be as a starter. In the past, that is the role for which Aceves has stated a preference.

But for now, as he competes for one of the two as-yet undefined rotation spots with Daniel Bard, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla and Aaron Cook, Aceves is focused simply on pitching well and leaving the decisions about his role to others.

‘€œIt’€™s not my decision,’€ said Aceves. ‘€œI’€™m not a manager, bro. I’€™ll respond when I get to be a manager. Right now I’€™m a player and I work as a player.’€

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