FORT MYERS, Fla. – So, what to make of Daniel Bard’s first appearance of the spring – a one-inning outing against Northeastern at JetBlue Park Thursday afternoon, in which he struck out the side.
Catcher David Ross: “Bardo struggled early on and then found it. He actually made adjustment midway through the inning and looked sharp. But early on it was just trying to get his body under control. Even though we’re going up against college kids, there’s still some adrenaline. I had some nerves and adrenaline today.
“I caught him in two bullpens. I think he’s working on some things mechanically. What’s promising is that when he got out of whack with his fastball he flipped that breaking ball out there, which is a good sign to me as a catcher. He has a very good slider, and a very good changeup.”
Manager John Farrell: “He went from a guy who was ultra-aggressive and ultra-confident to one who, with the change in role came a change in mindset. We’re getting back to that shorter stint and aggressive mentality. That’s something he set out to establish or regain and prove. Today was the first step in that process.
“In conversation and in side work, in BP, yeah, I don’t think it’s going to happen over night. The one thing we want to do is establish the aggressiveness first, and if we have to make some adjustments to gain more consistent command, that might be the case. The first step is more from the mentality side of things.
“At times, he leveraged it downhill, his delivery was on time. There were other times you could see him come off the pitch where he’d run it up and in to a right-hander. That’s not totally unexpected.”
Bard: “I’m satisfied. Not perfect obviously, but it’s a huge step in the right direction. It’s always good to get out of the gate with some good results. The focus today was just being in the zone as much as possible. I threw two pitches for strikes. Just go from there. …
“It was exciting. The live BP, I don’t think I got any swings. I was happy with how I threw the ball but they were just tracking pitches. This was the first real adrenaline rush. It’s a lot of fun.”
The pitcher would finish his 18-pitch outing throwing 13 strikes, while only allowing a leadoff single to the Huskies’ Connor Lyons.
As mentioned by Ross, the reliever struggled with fastball command early on before straightening himself out, thanks in part to the use of an effective slider.
“I think sometimes some pitchers to slow them down you call breaking balls. I think that’s the process that you use,” Ross explained. “I thought early on he was just leaving fastball arm-side, and it was running up and in. He settled down a little later, getting the ball back down and away, which is what I want. When righties can throw the ball glove-side down and away that is a key for us as a safety valve to go to, especially with him being as good as he is.”
“He doesn’t overthrow his secondary stuff as he might with his fastball, and that’s just the counter-adjustment from pitch to pitch,” Farrell said. “That’s probably the most encouraging thing. He didn’t get into a three or four pitch sequence where he was missing to the arm side. There was the ability to make the adjustment in one or two pitches.”
All in all, Bard came away from the exercise feeling he had taken a much-welcome step in the right direction.
“The last time I really came into camp with something to prove was my first big league spring training in ’09,” said Bard, whose next outing will be Monday in Port Charlotte against the Rays. “I was not supposed to make the team by any means, but I had a lot of people I was supposed to impress in my mind. I was able to come out and do that, and win a spot about a month later in the bullpen. It’s not that much different this year, besides the fact that everyone knows my name and knows who I am. But I feel like I have something to prove.”
Greg and Chris talk with Mike Reiss from ESPN Boston in hour 2 of NFL Sunday to discuss a variety of offseason happenings with the Pats and throughout the league. Greg and Chris also get into the NFL Draft and where Mariota and Winston will go.
Mike Reiss calls the guys to talk about the offseason news for the Pats. He talks about the Pats/Jets tampoering fiasco, free agency, where he sees Ridley and Connolly ending up, if the Patriots would be interested in Reggie Wayne and more.
In the first hour of the show, Greg and Chris discuss the news coming out of the owners' meetings this week and rule changes. Belichick's blow-up over the league not wanting to spend on endzone cameras was well documented and the guys react. They also talk about the Jets ridiculous tampering charges, free agents still lingering out there, where Stevan Ridley will land and the RB position in New England. Dickerson and Price briefly discuss the adventures of Tom Brady before being joined by WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia to talk all things Pats in the offseason.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
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Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
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It's a big hour #2 for the Sunday Skate dudes - they talk about the B's defenseman and what the future looks like at that position, with both moves the team can make and younger guys in the AHL. They also get into the Bruins philosophy on bringing guys up and sending them back down and how players deal with that. Finally, the boys are joined by Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to discuss EVERYTHING.
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Jackie Mac talks about the Celtics win over the Hornets last night and their chances of making the playoffs.
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Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about Kirk's massage and crap all over Sausage.
Ben and Adam finish the odyssey that is the history of Wrestlemania. Wrestlemanias 21-30 are discussed and analyzed.
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