A catcher's view on Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard

As I wrote about last week, Daniel Bard has had a rough 12 months. Even the start to his 2013 has been a bumpy ride, with Bard being pulled from live games until he could show consistency in his mechanics. All of that changed on Thursday, when Bard was given the okay to pitch an inning versus the Twins. Pitching for only the second time this year, Bard was impressive on Thursday, hitting 97 mph on the radar gun and striking out the side in a 1-2-3 inning. Why was his stuff so different? Just ask Dan Butler, the catcher who caught Bard during the game.
(The)ball was exploding out of his hand, it was ridiculous. Out of his hand it looked easy but it just jumped out of his hand. It stayed true, there was some late life to it, he was in the zone with every pitch.
Bard's confidence seemed to come back as well, as he located pitches and established his fastball early in the inning.
I saw when I was warming him up in the pen, This guy, he’s ready to rock right now. He looked confident out there. And he was in the zone. His ball staying a lot more true than I saw before. Same guy on the mound but his stuff was a hell of a lot better.
The hope for Daniel Bard is that he can build off of these appearances and return to the Red Sox in some capacity by May or June, as he is not expected to start with Boston when the season begins. Bard will need to continue to be consistent with his delivery and command for the Red Sox to be able to use him as a set-up man, as it is safe to say that last year's effort to turn Bard into a starter will not be exercised this year.
And so the page (and last year's 6.22 ERA) can now be turned, and Bard can begin to look forward. Bard's catcher from last season, Dan Butler, thinks things will go very well for the 27 year old reliever.
Now the confidence is back. He looks like the Bard everybody knows.
That is what The Hopeful like to hear.

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