Bard: Delivery feels 'simple,' repeatable
BOSTON -- Following his exile to Double A Portland at the end of spring training, reliever Daniel Bard made it back to Boston Wednesday.
"It's good to be here," said Bard. "It's been an interesting road but I think going to Portland for a little while was probably the best thing. (Being sent to Portland) wasn't nearly as much a shock as last year was, getting sent down (after two months failing as a starter). I think that hit me more like a ton of bricks when it happened.
"This year, I knew I was battling for a spot from that first day of spring training. I'm realistic -- I knew that I had options and there were others guys who didn't. It came down to it, you don't want to lose guys. I understand that side of the game.
"But at the same time, I felt like I showed a lot of things in spring training that showed I was over what happened last year and I was ready to move forward. Their decision was to do that in Portland. Obviously, you're not extremely thrilled when you get that news. But at the same time, you try not to sit and pout about it too long. It is what it is and I'm going to make the best of the situation. So that's what I tried to do."
Bard had some rough outings in Portland, but more recently, his fastball command has improved.
"It's been really good," said Bard. "Even if I come out of my delivery on a pitch, I'm able to get back into it in one or two pitches rather than spend the whole innings trying to find it. That just comes from simplifying things, shortening the leg kick a little bit. Everything's got a little more rhythm to it and allows me to find it a lot quicker out there."
Bard gave credit to Portland pitching coach Bob Kipper, who worked with him earlier in his pro career and has helped straighten him out mechanically.
"We go way back to 2006-2007," said Bard. "I always had a good relationship with him. I don't think I ever knew how much I valued him until this year. The feedback was just awesome. He just loves to focus on the positive . . . He's a good guy to be around, for sure."
Beyond whatever physical adjustments need to be made, Bard has also focused on the mental part of pitching.
"Being in the moment, not worrying about last outing and next outing or where I need to go (are things I've learned)," he said. "Just being in the moment. The adrenaline kind of takes over from there."