PAWTUCKET, R.I. In his second outing with Triple-A Pawtucket since being demoted June 7, Daniel Bard pitched one inning Monday night against the Gwinnett Braves. He gave up one run on one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.
He threw 22 pitches, 11 for strikes, with just one first-pitch strike, to his fifth and final batter. Bard has an ERA of 18.00 with Pawtucket.
The PawSox lost to Gwinnett, 11-8.
Entering in the sixth inning with the PawSox trailing by five runs, Bard gave up a lead-off single to Jose Constanza, the Braves lead-off hitter, and a four-pitch walk to Luis Durango. A passed ball on the third pitch to Durango had already sent Constanza to second base. On a 2-1 pitch to Tyler Pastornicky, Constanza and Durango completed a double steal. Pastornicky grounded out to Pedro Ciriaco at short, scoring Constanza.
Bard got out of the inning with consecutive strikeouts. He retired Ernesto Mejia, swinging at an 85-mph slider, and Stefan Gartrell looking at an 83-mph slider.
Bards fastball velocity was in the 92-94 mph range.
I thought there were some real positive steps tonight, said manager Arnie Beyeler. I thought he did a nice job. To start with he got guys out. He got two big hitters out in the middle of the order. I thought some real positive steps. Had some plane to his ball. Was around the zone better. And I know they put some good work in, him and pitching coach Rich Sauveur out there, and he felt good coming in tonight and felt positive. so even though he was around the zone, still wasnt as consistent as I know he needs to be at the next level, but definitely positive steps from the last time out.
Bard also was pleased with his outing.
It took me two batters I think to really get locked in to an arm slot, Bard said. I was a little bit low, lower than I would like on those first couple hitters and you saw some balls running away from me. And then I make the adjustment and I think pitched pretty well to those last three guys. So the nice thing is I can focus on that and say I wasnt perfect but it doesnt matter. I was locked in, I got something good to walk away with those last three hitters.
He looked like he was thinking too much, said one scout in attendance. He usually looks so fluid. But he wasnt finishing his pitches.
He looked awful on the first two batters, and much better for the last three, said another. I think they did the right thing letting him pitch one inning and get some confidence back. I still think hes a seventh or eighth inning pitcher, nothing more, nothing less.
Bard had originally been scheduled to start the game. Instead, he was taken out of the starters role, as CSNNE.com was the first to report earlier Monday, with right-hander Billy Buckner making the start, with Bard scheduled to pitch one inning.
Bard has not given up on starting.
I just told them after that last one Friday night, I said that starting with the intention of going one inning just felt really strange, Bard said. I mean, it felt like a very manufactured situation, didnt feel like I was really part of a baseball game. So I just told them, I said Im all good with the short stints closer together. I think thats a good way to get back on track but I dont see, if were trying to go with more of a bullpen feel, which is kind of what they talked to me about when we get through this and then translate to starting, I said why dont we just do it out of the bullpen? So, I told them lets just do that. And they were OK with it, with the intent of doing this a few times and like I said, translating back to starting.
The current situation for Bard is still a work in process, with the next steps not entirely known.
I dont know, Beyeler said. I would assume hes going to throw another inning or two, probably Thursday (the PawSox have an off-day Wednesday). I would assume that but that hasnt been verified or passed along. That was kind of the plan going along the last weve heard.
Buckner took the loss, falling to 0-1 with an ERA of 11.42. He went 4 23 innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits and three walks with one strikeout and three home runs.
The PawSox outhit the Braves, 15-14. Every PawSox batter in the starting lineup had at least one hit except second baseman Tony Thomas.
Lars Anderson went 3-for-4 with three runs, scored, three RBI, one walk, a double, and a home run, falling a triple shy of the cycle. The solo shot in the eighth was his eighth home run of the season.
Alex Hassan went 3-for-5 with two RBI.