Bard to pitch out of pen for PawSox Monday night


Bard to pitch out of pen for PawSox Monday night

PAWTUCKET, R.I. Daniel Bard was originally scheduled to start Monday night against the Gwinnett Braves. It was to be his second start for Triple-A Pawtucket since being sent down on June 7. Instead, as first reported earlier Monday, Bard is scheduled to pitch one inning out of the bullpen tonight, with right-hander Billy Buckner starting in his place.

Thats what they want to do, said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. Thats the plan. They just didnt want him starting. Nothing built into it. Just think hes a little more comfortable coming out of the pen, just to throw one or two innings. He doesnt want to start unless he throws multiple innings. I think thats the idea behind it. But nobodys really said anything.

Its difficult to see, though, how that plan helps Bard adjust to becoming a starting pitcher.

When Bard was sent down, he brought a 5-6 record with a 5.24 ERA with him. In his last outing June 3 in Toronto, he lasted just 1 23 innings, giving up five runs on one hits and six walks, with a home run, and two strikeouts. Facing 13 batters, he hit two of them. He threw 55 pitches, just 24 for strikes, an inadequate 44 percent strike rate. After the outing he was tied for the American League lead with eight hit batters.

In all, Bard has a 59 percent strike rate this season, below the desired two-thirds rate. By comparison, he had a 65 percent rate last season.

In his first outing with the PawSox, a start Friday against Indianapolis, he lasted just one inning, giving up three runs on two hits with two strikeouts, no walks, and two hit batters.

So, how does the sudden move back to the bullpen help him become a starter for the Sox?

It doesnt, physically or mentally, said one major league evaluator.

Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.

The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.

The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.

The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.

The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.