Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The wild and wacky adventures of Josh Bard

It's baseball. It's a long spring and an even longer regular season. It's not fair to put too much stock into any one outing.

But in Josh Bard's second first opportunity to catch Tim Wakefield, things didn't go so well.

He caught his first two knuckleballs, thrown to Alexi Casilla and Nick Punto, but that's when things started to go downhill. Wakefield's first pitch to Justin Morneau was low and inside; it went off Bard's glove and to the backstop. The second pitch to Morneau was low and outside and likewise skipped off Bard's glove. On Wakefield's third pitch, he hung a knuckleball -- perhaps in an effort to keep the ball up and make it easier to catch -- and Morneau drilled it up the left-center-field gap.

Bard then dropped a strike thrown to Michael Cuddyer and a ball thrown to Jason Kubel.

All told, he dropped four of the 12 pitches that weren't hit -- and not all of those pitches were knuckleballs. When he had his first chance to field a throw home (from Brad Wilkerson), he failed to corral a shorthop and saw it bounce past him.

One bad outing isn't going to doom Bard. But he's only going to get so many chances this spring to show he can catch the knuckleball -- and Wednesday night wasn't a good start.

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