FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s the nature of the beast. Because his season went so far off the rails last year, every throwing session that Daniel Bard has this spring will face a higher degree of scrutiny than that of virtually every one of his teammates. Such was the case on Saturday, when the right-hander threw his first live batting practice session of the spring, with minor leaguers Jeremy Hazelbaker and Jonathan Diaz stepping in the cage with Bard on the mound.
One obvious thing stood out: Bard was hitting the glove repeatedly. His fastball was down, and regularly popped the mitt of catcher Dan Butler. Butler also worked with Bard a year ago in Triple-A Pawtucket, so his take on the session was noteworthy.
“He looked confident out there. He was able to make some quick adjustments,” said Butler. “His fastball command was a lot better. He’s got a lot better feel for it. And change up looks good, slider looks good. He’s very consistent out there with his delivery. That’s the main thing with him.
“There’s definitely some adjustment that’s being made there [since last year]. He looks like he’s able to do that now. It looks a lot better.”
That early impression — which was in line with reports of Bard’s early bullpen sessions — was shared by manager John Farrell and GM Ben Cherington. At the same time, while encouraged, Cherington also wanted to downplay the idea of getting too caught up in how Bard looks in any single outing, preferring to be more mindful of the goal of preparing for the season rather than potentially riding a daily roller coaster based on individual bullpen sessions.
“One of the things we’ve talked with Daniel about, let’s not make this a story everyday,” said Cherington. “He’s a healthy pitcher getting ready for the season. I understand what happened last year, that there will be interest, but like a lot of other guys, he’s getting ready for the season and he’s back in a role that should be comfortable to him, working on things. … [He is] another very talented arm back there. He’s going through his progression and getting ready for games.”
The twin messages — that Bard looked good, but that it’s pointless to jump to any conclusions — was reiterated by Farrell.
“Again, it’s [live batting practice]. I don’t want to over-analyze it too much,” said Farrell. “The one point of emphasis he is trying to get done is not to guide the ball. Stay agressive, even in the early BP and bullpen sessions, and he’s doing just that.
“I think we want to be careful not to jump too early here,” Farrell continued. “This is the third time he’s been on the mound since we’ve opened up camp. We’ll get a better read once we get into games and you get into the game-speed and the adrenaline matched to it. That’s more of an accurate read at that point.”
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Rob Bradford is joined by Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox pitcher who so many are wondering if he will be able to live up the value placed on him by the Red Sox when trading away top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza last July. Pomeranz goes into detail regarding his injury last season, the stem cell treatment he underwent in the offseason, and how he thinks things stand heading into the 2017 campaign.
Rob Bradford is joined by Tom Caron, the man responsible for guiding the ship when it comes to Red Sox pregame and postgame shows, along with various other important duties with the New England Sports Network, including offering the play-by-play for both TV and radio throughout spring training. Tom and Rob discuss a variety of topics, such as nickname conundrums, radio vs. television, criticizing the team, behind-the-scenes for the broadcasts and where the industry is going.
Rob Bradford is joined by two-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Quentin, who is attempting a comeback with the Red Sox this spring. Quentin's path back to baseball involves almost quitting the game less than a year ago, losing 40 pounds and trying to sell himself to general managers all over Major League Baseball. Quentin explains his journey, which has led him to the back fields at JetBlue Park.
HOUR 4 - How many big-games does Tuukka Rask have to miss before guys like Bergeron and Marchand call him out for it? Also, Belichick skips the coach's breakfast, the Raiders are headed to Las Vegas, Kirk rips "The Baseball Show" and Dale, Holley and Keefe rip the Whiner Line.
HOUR 3 - LaVar Ball joined ESPN's "First Take" again on Monday, and brought his NBA-bound son, Lonzo, with him. Unlike his father, Lonzo says all the right things, and is good at basketball. The guys also discuss Lonzo Ball's poor performance against Kentucky, and wonder if that will affect his draft status or his general perception by fans. Also, Dino is selling that house we heard so much about, at Miromar Lakes.
HOUR 2 - The Celtics are tied with Cleveland for 1st place in the East (although Cleveland has 2 games in hand) and are poised for a top 3 pick in the draft. "FiveThirtyEight" says the Celtics have a better chance than the Cavs of winning a championship. Also, the guys discuss Devin Booker's 70 point game, and how some of the Celtics players were chirping him about it.
We finish the show with the best sound clips of the day.
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Dale, Holley, and Keefe sort through Robert Kraft's comments at the owners' meeting regarding key Patriots players.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
SI's Richard Deitsch returns to the podcast to talk with Kirk about the K&C casting couch, how ESPN wimps out when they are called out for slander, what's going on with Bill Simmons, and the rise of podcasting.
Christian Fauria and Dr Gill go over the difficulties of staying healthy through the long grind of the playoffs in the NBA and in the NHL.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap an Evan Drellich revival edition of the K&C Show on a Monday
Ben, Russ, and Alex discuss the USMNT victory over Honduras, Christian Pulisic's development for club and country, and Bastian Schweinsteiger's move to the Chicago Fire.
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