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.”
Butch Stearns joins Glenn and Fred to react to the Patriots victory over the Rams. They discuss Tom Brady's record setting 201st quarterback victory and debate if he is truly the greatest player of all time.
Glenn and Fred open the show reacting to the Patriots beat down of the Los Angeles Rams. They discuss the defense and debate whether todays game is a sign of things to come.
Pete and Price get to more analysis and breakdowns as they discuss how both of these teams will approach one another. They talk about things to keep an eye on and interesting stats before getting Price's prediction.
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The first hour of Saturday Skate starts up against the third period of Bruins - Sabres, so Ken Laird and Rear Admiral give some Red Sox hot stove and Rob Gronkowski thoughts before moving into Bruins - Sabres game reaction
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Damien Woody joined K&C and shared a story regarding a conversation he had with Bill Belichick in the training room in Foxboro.
In the 9 am hour Gerry and Kirk mocked the Belichick press conference and took a call from Jim the Wrestling Goon who is not a fan of Amani Toomer.
In the 8 am hour Gerry and Kirk talked about a brutal answer by Dan Shaughnessy regarding Bill Conlin'sn spot in the Hall of Fame.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian are less than surprised that Bill Belichick won't comment further about Gronk than the released statement. Speaking of statements, how weird is it that the Gronkowski family is releasing joint statements with the Patriots?
Orthopedic surgeon to the pros, Dr. Thomas Gill of Steward Health Care joins Glenn, Lou, and Christian in the wake of Gronk's back injury. He talks about different types of disc injuries, and one type of fusion which could potentially prevent Gronk from playing football. He also commented on the unique situation of a joint statement between the Patriots and the Gronkowskis, and clarified his role in Gronk's arm surgeries.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian wonder how the man who shot former NFL RB Joe McKnight can be free of charges and walking around the streets of New Orleans.
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We open it up in the final portions of hours 3 and 4 on a Friday.
Hour two in it's entirety.
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