Signs point to Bard opening season at Pawtucket

Signs point to Bard opening season at Pawtucket
March 28, 2013, 2:30 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Roster decisions are due to be made Thursday, and for the time being, it would appear as though Daniel Bard and the Red Sox aren't necessarily on the same page when it comes to his status.

Bard endured another rough outing Wednesday when he allowed three runs on a walk and three hits in the seventh inning of the Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Miami Marlins.

That left Bard with a 6.75 ERA in Grapefruit League games this spring. In eight innings, he's allowed nine hits and four walks.

"Little inconsistent separation and balance points,'' said John Farrell when asked to evaluate Bard's outing. "I saw a number of breaking balls where his arm didn't quite catch up and stayed up in the zone. Not quite as sharp as we've seen. To me, it was more of a timing issue.''

When asked to assess Bard's spot with the team, Farrell seemed to hint that the reliever could get squeezed out. Bard is in competition with Clayton Mortensen for a final bullpen spot, and while Bard has options remaining, Mortensen does not and the Sox worry that if he's exposed to waivers, he'll be claimed.

That, coupled with the inconsistency he's shown and difficulties he's had with mechanics at times, would seem to point to Bard beginning the season at Pawtucket.

"He's in the process of ironing [the mechanical issues] out,'' said Farrell, "and gaining that consistency. With Daniel in that slot on our staff, it's probably as much roster management as it might be he himself and the evaluation of him. So there's some things to consider and certainly part of it is where he's at now in his adjustment phase that he's going through.''

Bard had a different take on both his outing and his chances of breaking camp with the major league team.

"The ball was coming out good,'' said Bard, "but they were finding holes, I guess. I'm not going to dwell on it too much because I think I've thrown the ball pretty well. Delivery was where I wanted it to be. It's one of those things where you can't get too wrapped up in results in spring training.''

Bard hinted that he's expecting to make the team based on his showing.

"It's pretty obvious that [a decision] needs to be made,'' he said. "I think I've done what I need to do as far proving that I'm over last year and my mechanics are pretty close to being locked into where I want to be. Give me a scouting report to throw off of and I think I'll be able to help this team.''

He also said he would be willing to match his outing Wednesday "with something from 2010 and it would be hard to find anything different.''

Reminded that he might be caught in a numbers game because he has options and Mortensen doesn't, Bard said:  "Completely out of my control. I can't help that I didn't burn any options in my first couple of years. It's just part of the game, something you have to live with.''