A quick post tonight: news broke this afternoon that Daniel Bard, Boston’s fifth starter who had some troubling starts as of late, has been optioned to AAA Pawtucket.
Bard compiled a 5-6, 5.24 ERA on the season. Over 55 innings of work, he walked 37 batters and hit eight batters, while striking out a comparatively puny 34 hitters. Most recently, Bard only lasted 1 2/3 innings on Sunday, allowing a home run to Toronto’s Jose Bautista, while walking six hitters and hitting two.
The Boston Globe piece on the demotion has some good quotes from the Red Sox coaching staff. Manager Bobby Valentine stressed that the team’s long-term goal is to keep Bard as a starter, but that the organization felt he needed space to work without worrying about how his progress was affecting the big-league club:
“What came out of the conversation today was that we’ll stay with the idea that he’s a starter and see how he develops,” Valentine said. “There’s a lot of building blocks, a lot of good things that have happened here that he can still build on. It seems like it’s just around the corner.”
Valentine also told the Globe that one of the mysteries Bard was dealing with, was why his velocity has dipped so drastically as a starter. That’s one thing Bard will be working on. Pitching coach Bob McClure also alluded to that:
“Coming out of spring training, there was kind of one thought, really. Basically get on line and attack the strike zone and don’t try and be too fine,” he said. “I think that’s basically what he needs to do, what he wants to do and what he’s trying to get back to doing.”
Boston hasn’t yet named its new fifth starter, next scheduled to take the mound Saturday against the Washington Nationals. The Globe notes, though, that Daisuke Matsuzaka is limited to three innings of work in Pawtucket tonight, and could end up moving up to Boston if the start goes well.