Bard on demotion: 'Obviously Im not thrilled with it'

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Bard on demotion: 'Obviously Im not thrilled with it'

PAWTUCKET -- Daniel Bard's a member of the PawSox -- for now -- and he's trying to make the best of it.

Im just an employee here but obviously Im not thrilled with it," he said to a group of reporters at McCoy Stadium, including Comcast SportsNet's Carolyn Manno, prior to Thursday night's Indianapolis-at-Pawtucket game. "If it was me making the decision it might have been different but I tried to be respectful about it, and once I get the anger and disappointment out of the way, you just got to try to make the best of it.

Bard traces his troubles -- which culminated in a ghastly performance Sunday in Toronto (6 walks and 2 hit batters in 1 23 innings) that prompted his demotion -- to his offseason switch from the bullpen to the starting rotation.

I think we just came into spring training and thought, 'Okay, how do we need to change everything I do to fit the starting role?', and I dont think we needed to change as much as I thought we did," Bard said. "We tweaked a lot of things mechanically trying to simplify me, trying to get the best windup that Im comfortable with. Probably did a little too much rather than just . . . you cant think and pitch at the same time.

So the question is: Will he remain in the rotation?

They haven't told me," he said. "They told me I'm going to be a starter down here and that it's going to start out being some shorter starts which will probably frustrate the bullpen a little bit. I told them I would do it out of the pen but they said they want me to be starting down here. I told them straight up this isn't going to take long . . . for me to figure things out. Once it clicks, it clicks."

He's also had a decrease in velocity, which he believes is another element of the mechanical problems he's having.

When your velocity goes down and your command is off, it's hard to trust your stuff," he said. "It's a matter of finding a delivery that you're comfortable with. I've been out there trying to keep in check or correct two or three things with my delivery and also get big-league hitters out. It's pretty tough to do.

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.