Farrell: Bard sent to Portland to 'rebuild his delivery'

Farrell: Bard sent to Portland to 'rebuild his delivery'
March 29, 2013, 1:00 am
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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Just a few hours before the Red Sox game against the Twins Thursday night, a 6-1 win, manager John Farrell had to deliver the news to Daniel Bard that the right-hander would not be leaving camp with the major league team. Bard had been optioned, not to Triple-A as might have been expected, but to Double-A Portland. Bard has not pitched at the Double-A level since 2008.

Why Portland?

“Because this is strictly about continuing to rebuild his delivery and not so much sheer performance,” Farrell said after the game. “Because we feel like once his delivery is consistent and he repeats it, the results should take care of itself. And that being the focal point, we felt like it was a better work setting for him at Portland.

“The point of emphasis we made to Daniel was we didn’t want him to think if he put up three consecutive scoreless innings or three appearances where he pitched well, that he was on his way back to Boston,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We don’t see him as a filler on a major league staff. We still see him as a very capable, very good, and potentially dominant late-inning reliever. And first and foremost is the foundation he pitches from and that’s his delivery. That’s the focal point.”

Bard’s reaction to the news was similar to outside parties.

“’Why Portland, vs. Pawtucket?’” Farrell said. And that’s what was explained to him. I don’t know that he was completely surprised by the option, certainly disappointed. But the thing that we continually stress with him is we don’t want to compare this outing to outing in spring training. While there was some solid performances, there were some that were less-than. This has to be compared to the way he finished last year and where he’s at right now. And this is a sizable step in the progression. But he’s still in the process of it.”

Farrell acknowledged he was surprised Bard was not able to make the necessary adjustments in spring training.

“Maybe a little bit right now particularly after the three outings he put together it looked like he was well on his way or at least on a more direct path, a more clear path,” Farrell said. “We’re not disappointed but at the same time, we don’t think this is something that’s a long term fix, but one that still needs work.”

Earlier in the day, pitching coach Juan Nieves had expressed disappointment that Bard had not gone to winter ball to help work things out. Farrell, however, said there was never a discussion about that because of the number of innings Bard threw last season, and the right-hander’s desire to get away from baseball for a period of time in the offseason.

“Given what he experienced a year ago, felt like a lot of getting away from it for a period of time would have some benefit,” Farrell said. “He pitched a great number of innings last year, innings piled up on him a little bit. And that was our approach at the time.”