Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Cherington suggested that right-hander Daniel Bard
has made discernible progress in his return from a dreadful year in
2012. Still, he noted that there is further room for improvement as he
tries to regain the form that made him one of the most dominant
relievers in the game from 2009-11.
“[Bard is] a lot further ahead than where he ended the season,” said
Cherington. “Probably still not all the way to where he wants to be, but
sort of in the range of possibilities, he’s a lot closer to where he
wants to be than where he was struggling last year.”
Asked about the looming decision about whether to open the year with
Bard in the majors or to send him to Triple-A — an option that might
gain further credence from the fact that he has minor league options
remaining — Cherington did not tip his hand.
“We started this spring with a lot of options in the bullpen,” said Cherington. “It looks like [left-handers Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales]
will probably be a little bit slow out of the gate. I think as I’ve
said before, this stuff tends to work itself out as time goes by. Our
hope was that we had enough depth of good arms that by opening day we’ll
have a lot of good options in the ‘pen. We just have to see where we
get to next week.”
WEEI - Ben Cherington on Daniel Bard, Jose Iglesias, rotation depth and roster decisions
Having an effective Daniel Bard could quite possibly take this bullpen from good to invincible. We already know what type of impact he can have when he's firing those 98 MPH fastballs. It wasn't that long ago we wanted to run Papelbon out of town and hand his job over to Bard.
And then, well, we all know what happened next. Converted starter. Lost velocity. Lost location. Turned into a head case. Became a terrible pitcher who needs to be built back up. Thankfully, it looks like the building is way ahead of schedule, needing just a single offseason.
But the real test, as always, is when the games count. He's looked solid, if not spectacular this spring over 6 innings pitched. He has walked 3 batters and allowed 3 runs, but he's also struck out 7 and has a tidy 1.17 WHIP. But sample size is everything here, and 6 innings isn't enough to give Bard the green light to start the year with Boston.
Unless injuries force his hand (which is a real possibility) I can't see Cherington keeping Bard up with Boston on Opening Day. Put him in Pawtucket. Let him throw a handful of high-pressure late innings. Let's see how he responds. Let's see if he can reach back and fling those crazy fastballs we've missed so much. Let the guy keep building his confidence.
There's no downside to having him hang out in AAA a while longer. There is a downside in having him get rocked with Boston. There's only so many times a guy can bounce back from that.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Red Sox must ponder three criteria before promoting Jackie Bradley Jr. | Buckley: Andrew Miller set for key bullpen role | Stephen Drew’s mind clear | WEEI - Drew cleared to start baseball activity | A world of difference in a year: Why Daniel Nava does not take 2013 for granted | CSNNE - Tomase: Expecations from Lackey, Buchholz | Notes: Ortiz unlikely for Opening Day | Globe - John Lackey continues his strong comeback | Bench starting to come into focus for Red Sox