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Red Sox, Yanks get night off; Boston regroups after a tough week

The Boston Red Sox are moving Daniel Bard to the bullpen -- temporarily, at least.

With rain washing out Bard's scheduled start against the New York Yankees on Sunday night, manager Bobby Valentine said Bard will skip his turn in the rotation and be available in relief. But when the Red Sox need a fifth starter, it will be Bard.

"As the plan is now, he's our fifth starter," Valentine told reporters Sunday after the postponement.

A day after the Yankees overcame a nine-run deficit with back-to-back seven-run innings to beat Boston, 15-9, the finale of their three-game series was postponed by rain. The Red Sox called the game about five hours before the scheduled 8:05 p.m. first pitch -- no doubt because of rain that was falling all day and expected to continue through the night.

But it didn't hurt that the Red Sox could use the day off.

"It's been a tough week. If I had to rate them all, this is one of the toughest," Valentine said Sunday. "When you're 4-10, it's not easy to say that everything is going perfectly. But I think they're good players, high quality, and we're going to win a lot of games."

The Yankees were expected to push the rotation back a day, with scheduled Sunday starter CC Sabathia going today instead at Texas and Hiroki Kuroda to face Yu Darvish on Tuesday.

The Yankees pounded the Boston bullpen for seven runs in the seventh inning and seven more in the eighth, their biggest rally after a nine-run deficit since April 18, 1950, when they trailed the Red Sox, 9-0, after five innings and went on to win, 15-10. The Detroit Tigers rallied from an 11-1 deficit to beat the Washington Senators, 18-12, on June 12, 1938.

"To come back in the seventh inning being down 9-nothing to the Red Sox, to be able to get the win, that's a big win for us," said Nick Swisher, who hit a grand slam and had six RBIs. "That's all I can really say. I really don't know what else to say."

The Red Sox went 7-20 in September to miss a wild-card spot by one game, leading to a tumultuous offseason in which general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona departed. Valentine replaced Francona, but the team is now 4-10 in his tenure and the Fenway fans were booing him more loudly with each trip to the mound on Saturday.

Afterward, he was asked if he had any regrets about leaving the broadcast booth to take the job.

"This is all a challenge," he said. "This is my job."

Because Sunday night's game was scheduled to be on ESPN, Francona was supposed to be in the booth to analyze his former team. The rainout saves the Red Sox from that awkward situation.

It also delays the Boston debut of newly acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd, who was traded to the Red Sox from the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.

Valentine tried to be optimistic about the fact that Byrd, a 2010 NL All-Star, has just three hits in 43 at-bats so far this season.

"He isn't hitting right now; that's the good news," Valentine said, "which means he's saved up all his hits for us, which is a good thing for him to do."