Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bard not caught up in pitching staff shuffle

Daniel Bard is just a relief pitcher.

He's not a general manager.

He's not, therefore, worrying too much about how he'll be affected by the arrival of John Smoltz on the Red Sox roster a week from Thursday. Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced on Tuesday that the Red Sox will go with a six-man rotation from the end of June until the All-Star Game. If no starting pitcher is going to be bumped from the roster to make room for Smoltz, Bard likely will be shipped back to Pawtucket.

"I'm not going to worry about it," the rookie flamethrower said. "I'm not working in the front office, so the thing I'm going to do is make the decision as tough for them as possible. That's all I can do. Obviously, I want to be here. If my arm feels good and I'm throwing well, I want to be helping this team.

"If that is the case, if I get moved down, I'm sure something's going to happen along the way -- whether it's soon or it's September. But I'm not worrying about that right now."

To make the decision as tough as possible, Bard first had to bounce back from perhaps his worst outing as a major leaguer. Pitching in relief of Josh Beckett in a one-run game in Philadelphia on Sunday, Bard walked Chase Utley, failed to haul in a double-play ball he could have hauled in, allowed a double to Jayson Werth and intentionally walked Chris Coste to get to pitcher Chan Ho Park only to walk Park, too.

He'd allowed just one earned run all season to that point. He was charged with four earned runs that inning. His ERA jumped from 0.75 to 3.55.

"I'm going to stick with what's gotten me here -- do the same early work and the same things between outings that I have been doing," he said. "You've got to expect, any pitcher, there's going to be bumps in the road throughout the season. There may be two or three like that -- hopefully not, but I've got to expect it. If you dwell on it and start worrying about it, like, 'This is going to turn into two or three or four bad ones in a row,' you're screwing yourself over. You just stick with it and go back out and keep doing what you've been doing."

But that was Sunday.

Bard came back strong on Tuesday, fanning Hanley Ramirez on a 98-mile-an-hour heater for the first out of the ninth inning and getting Dan Uggla to pop to first to end the game.

"I went into today thinking about slamming the door," he said. "These hitters don't know what I did my last time -- well, they may, I don't know, but they weren't there. I'm going to act like they've never seen me before and come in firing."


One thing to watch for: Bard and tonight's Marlins starter, Andrew Miller, pitched North Carolina to the first of its four straight College World Series appearances three years ago. The two had a chance to catch up on the off-day on Monday, traveling down to Cape Cod to see Bard's younger brother Jared pitch for the Brewster Whitecaps.

No comments: