Matthew West / Boston Herald
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Daniel Bard took to the mound in the season's first spring training game. Did he walk six guys? Did he take out a poor Northeastern player's knee cap with a rouge fastball?
...all eyes focused on Bard again yesterday when he pitched the second inning of an exhibition against Northeastern University at JetBlue Park.
“I feel like I have something to prove,” Bard said. “I think that’s a good thing.”
In that case, this was a positive first step, at least to whatever degree such a conclusion may be drawn from an 18-pitch outing against college kids. Bard gave up a jam-shot single to Huskies center fielder Connor Lyons, then struck out the side, mixing in several sliders with his fastball and throwing 13 strikes, including five swings-and-misses.
“I’m satisfied,” Bard said. “Not perfect, obviously, but it’s a huge step in the right direction.”
After last season, there’s really only one direction for Bard to go.
We all know sending Bard to the rotation was a collosal mistake last year. The funny part is, the majority of media and fans were concerned about the move right from the start.
Sure, yesterday was against a bunch of college guys. But, this is still a major step forward for Bard. He gave up a cheap single, then recovered and struck out the side. More importantly, he threw 13 of 18 pitches for strikes and commanded his slider effectively. I also find it interesting that new C David Ross was behind the plate. Ross is renouned for guiding pitchers and calling an effective game, so lets keep an eye on the Ross/Bard relationship throughout spring training.
He will certainly be a project this year. But Farrell, who served as Bard's pitching coach in his rookie year in 2009, is the guy to turn him around.