The disintegration of Daniel Bard continued Wednesday night in Portland, as the former Red Sox reliever -- throwing only 8 strikes in 30 pitches -- walked five and threw two wild pitches in one-plus innings for the Double-A Sea Dogs.
Since being sent back to Portland after a brief stint in Boston, Bard has walked 13 batters in 3 2/3 innings, covering five appearances.
“It was never going to be a quick fix with him, because of the residue of everything that has happened through a whole year of battle,” Red Sox pitching Juan Nieves told the Boston Herald's John Tomase after the Sox' 9-2 over Tampa Bay Wednesday night. “It’s going to take some time. I think the strength is there, the arm strength is there, it’s a matter of him buying into it and creating some consistency.
“You know what it comes down to? Him not thinking about hitters or anything like that, just hit the glove, hit the glove, hit the glove. Let the stuff play. His stuff is too unbelievable to be turned off, or to be aware of, ‘Oh my God I’m going to get hit,’ except he’s not getting hit, because he’s walking guys.”
Nieves said that, as of last night, no thought had been given to sending Bard back to extended spring training in Fort Myers in an attempt to rebuild his mechanics and restore what has to be his shattered confidence.
“Nooooo,” he said. “Backing off, I never want to back off a guy. He’s not that type of guy. He’s the kind of guy, throw your stuff over the plate and it will play."