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 CSNNE.com 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.