Daniel Bard’s switch from working out of the bullpen instead of starting for Pawtucket on Monday should not be seen as a permanent move to a relief role.
With Bard trying to regain his form one inning at a time with the PawSox, working as a starter just didn’t feel right.
“Starting with the intention of going one inning felt really strange,” Bard told the Providence Journal after Monday’s outing. “It felt like a really manufactured situation. It didn’t feel like I was really part of baseball game. I told them I’m all good with the short stints pushed together. I think that’s a good way to get back on track. But if we’re trying to go for a bullpen feel, which is what they talked to me about — get this and translate it to starting — I said, ‘Why don’t we just do it out of the bullpen?’”
Bard entered Monday’s PawSox game in the sixth inning and gave up one run on one hit and one walk. His fastball command was spotty, as only 11 of his 22 pitches were strikes. Bard gave up the run after a single, walk, double steal and RBI grounder, but closed his one-inning outing with a pair of strikeouts.
“It took me two batters to get locked into an arm slot,” he told the Journal. “I was a little bit lower than I would like to the first couple of hitters, and you saw some balls running away from me. I was able to make the adjustment and pitch pretty well to those last three guys.”
Bard agreed with the idea that working in shorter stints was the most efficient way for him to work out the kinks.
“If we were sending me out there every five days for 90, 100 pitches, if it doesn’t go how we want or I don’t feel it, we’re wasting five days,” he said. “If I went out there tonight and didn’t like how I felt, screw it, we’ve wasted one day, 20 pitches, and I’ll come back in two days and try to correct it.”
And while Bard acknowledged he’s been more comfortable working out of the bullpen, that doesn’t mean he’s given up on getting back in the Red Sox rotation.
“It’s not a secret that’s where I’m most comfortable,” he said of being a reliever. “The adrenaline rush that comes with it, the added pressure of getting loose quick and everything, that’s where I’m comfortable. Still, while we can say that, I’m not ready to give up on starting.”