Bard once again shows promise

Daniel Bard struggled last year combining his pitching velocity with control. Once things started going bad, his season proceeded to spiral out of control, similar to his throws. Well I guess that means we can call this season a comeback, with the reliever posting another very impressive outing yesterday.

Bard came in to relieve in the 6th inning against the Twins and struck out the side. Seemingly impressed with himself, Bard was very content with the speed and control he had on his pitches. Everything seemed to go his way and he explained how rewarding that feels for a pitcher:
"It's something that's a feel that every pitcher knows what I'm talking about, when the ball is just coming out true," Bard said. "I was as locked in in the bullpen warming up as I've been in a long time. The catcher wasn't moving his glove a whole lot. It's always nice to carry that into the game."
"I don't know what my velocity was, but it felt as good as it's felt in a long time coming out," Bard said. "There was finish on the ball. It had some late life to it. [I got] some late swings. It's a good feeling to get those reactions." 
Quick note, his velocity was ranging in the mid to upper 90's. Anyways, it looks like Bard is establishing an impressive groove now that he is back in his element with relieving. The transition to being a starter was too much for him. Not necessarily a bad thing, but clearly Bard is simply meant to be a reliever.

New manager John Farrell, who was formerly the Sox pitching coach, knows how to deal with pitchers and the mentality that affects their play. Bard's last outing was well over a week ago against Northeastern and Farrell explained that the team wanted to focus on some mechanics. He also expressed his pleasure with the pitcher's latest outing:
"Very encouraging," Farrell said. "He's taken the work that he's done on the side and in the [simulated] game into today. He stayed behind a lot of fastballs. There was improved command, improved velocity. It was a very good day for him."

The sky seems to be the limit for Bard who plans on taking the league by storm this season. With a new outlook and plenty of control, the future looks bright. Bard credits much of this to the support of his team and the atmosphere of Spring Training:
"That's what Spring Training is all about," Bard said. "Not only getting ready, but getting mentally ready. It's nice to have some of these to get the confidence rolling and build on it every time out."

Anthony Aidonidis