Despite runs, Bard, Valentine happy with outing

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Despite runs, Bard, Valentine happy with outing

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The pitching line wasn't anything to boast about, but Daniel Bard's second-to-last outing in Florida was a success in his eyes.

Just as critically, it was the same for manager Bobby Valentine.

"I was walking in with (Kelly Shoppach)," said Bard after going six innings and allowing nine hits and five runs in what turned out to be a 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. "He goes, 'How many runs did they end up getting?' I said, 'Five.' He said, 'It felt like two.' I said I feel the same away. It was kind of like they kept slapping one on in every inning.

"I felt like I threw the ball well in each of those innings, but every hit they needed kind of fell through and the ground balls got through."

If Bard sounded like he was rationalizing, Valentine echoed his thoughts later.

"Overall, I liked everything," he said. "He had some tough breaks, but he worked his way out of jams. He threw all of his pitches today. I thought his changeup at times was devastating. His slider was sharp at times.

"What was there not to like other than the five runs on the board? And I thought some of those could have been prevented."

"Today was the first game I actually felt like a starting pitcher out there and not like a reliever starting," said Bard. "I used all four pitches, a steady mix of all four. I really did it and felt confident about it . . . I was able to take a lot of things from it. Take the five runs out of it and I felt pretty about it."

Bard made a slight adjustment in his positioning for both the full windup delivery and his stretch delivering, finding consistency for both.

He still hasn't been told what he'll be doing, but he's no longer concerning himself with the uncertainty.

"For a little while, you wonder and you wonder," he said. "But I've just kind of gotten to the point where it's out of my hands. I'm going to put the work in and do the best I can right now. If that shifts to a bullpen role, I'll do the same thing.

"Like everything in life, if you can't control it, it's probably not worth worrying about."

When Valentine was asked if there was a bottom line decision on Bard coming, the manager said: "I just like what I see."

Valentine wouldn't offer a deadline on a decision on the final two spots in the rotation.

"I don't know that there's going to be any big announcements or anything," he said. "It looks like it's all coming together. No matter who's pitching, I like the pitching. I'll see how it works. I haven't (decided) in my mind. But it looks like it's going to be an easy decision (because there are a number of good candidates from which to choose).

"It's not like we're going to be searching for pitchers to start games."

Bradley steps up to lead Celtics to 117-87 blowout win over Magic

Bradley steps up to lead Celtics to 117-87 blowout win over Magic

It was one of Tacoma, Washington’s finest carrying the scoring load most of Wednesday night for the Boston Celtics. 
 
But it wasn’t the Celtics’ leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
It was his backcourt mate and fellow Tacoma, Wash. native Avery Bradley picking up the slack in Thomas’ absence as Boston pulled away in the second half for a 117-87 blowout win over the Orlando Magic. 
 
Wednesday’s victory was Boston’s first in Orlando since Nov. 8, 2013. 
 
Bradley led seven double-figure scorers for Boston (13-9), with a team-high 23 points.
 
Thomas missed his first game of the season with a right groin injury that will sideline him for a yet-to-be-determined period of time. 
 
The 5-foot-9 guard ranks among the NBA’s leaders in scoring (26.0) in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game. 
 
But Bradley was up to the challenge of filling the void left by Thomas, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider the game was away from the TD Garden. 
 
Bradley has been good this year, but has really stood out in road games where he has averaged 19.0 points on 51.4 percent shooting from the field compared to 15.8 points on 41.3 percent shooting at the TD Garden. 
 
The first half was a tightly contested game with neither team leading by more than eight points. 
 
After Orlando scored the first basket of the third quarter, the Celtics went on a furious 18-2 run to lead 67-54 which had five different scorers for Boston that spoke volumes about the balanced offensive attack the Celtics came with to make up for Thomas’ absence. 
 
Boston’s defense picked up its intensity in the second half, but just as important was the renewed emphasis on ball movement that was simple, crisp and highly effective. 
 
And it came against an Orlando team that came in having won four of its last five games – all on the road – which included beating the always-challenging San Antonio Spurs on their home floor. 
 
But as important as it was for Bradley to help fill the enormous scoring void that exists without Thomas, Boston also needed a strong game from their bench. 
 
That’s exactly what they got, and it wasn’t just one or two guys, either. 
 
Jaylen Brown had arguably the best game of his still-young NBA career coming off the Celtics bench, finishing with 13 points which included a powerful, rim-rattling dunk over Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic
 
Boston also got great play out of Terry Rozier (career-high 16 points, five rebounds) who saw a few more minutes than usual because of Thomas’ injury. 
 
Not only was the victory important to pad the win total, but it also provides a nice boost of confidence for the Celtics as they hit what will be arguably the most difficult stretch of the season in terms of quality opponents. 
 
The Celtics have 12 games remaining this month, with the teams having a combined record of 152-105, or a winning percentage of .591.

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.

The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.

"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."

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