It was this time last year when reliever Daniel Bard was finally making the transition that he was dying for; Bard would be a starting pitcher. Unfortunately for him and the Red Sox, the transition flopped.

Bard was 5-6, with a 5.24 ERA, walked 37 batters and hit 8 more; this outweighed his 34 strikeouts. After a 1.2 inning performance against the Blue Jays in which gave up 5 runs, walked 6, and hit 2 batters, the team decided that it was time to demote Bard to the AAA, where also continued to struggle mightily, posting a 7.08 ERA during his time spent there.

So basically disaster struck Bard, as it seemed to have struck every other glimpse of hope that the Sox had last year. It has since been decided that he will return to the bullpen, where he once showed potential for dominance. Yesterday, he took a step in the right direction against Northeastern University in the exhibition game. Bard allowed a lead-off single, but he then struck out the side. Although he was happy, Bard knows there's still much work to do:
"I'm satisfied," Bard said. "Not perfect, obviously, but it's a huge step in the right direction. It's always good to get out the gate with some good results."
Although it is great to see that Bard could possibly be settling in again and finding his groove, we shouldn't read too much into this. One solid appearance in an exhibition game does not necessarily mean much. To be fair though, the good should always be acknowledged. Also, there are always areas that could use some improvement. Catcher David Ross spoke of Bard's performance and some things that could use adjusting:
"Bardo struggled early on and then found it," catcher David Ross said. "He actually made adjustments midway through the inning and looked sharp. But early on it was just trying to get his body under control. Even though we’re going up against college kids, there’s still some adrenaline. I had some nerves and adrenaline today. I caught him in two bullpens. I think he’s working on some things mechanically. What’s promising is that when he got out of whack with his fastball, he flipped that breaking ball out there, which is a good sign to me as a catcher. He has a very good slider, and a very good changeup.”
Look at Bard's performance the way David Ross did; take the good with the bad (or in this case, the great with some error), and recognize that improvements can be made. Hopefully he keeps it up, because the Red Sox could seriously use some solid pitching this year.

Anthony Aidonidis 2/22/2013 06:31:00 PM Edit
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