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Red Sox Notebook

Bard has marathon with his pitch count

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / April 17, 2012
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On a day when scores of Boston Marathoners staggered across the finish line on Boylston Street, Daniel Bard scaled his own Heartbreak Hill Monday at Fenway Park. The Red Sox starter waged a marathon of his own with a career-high 111 pitches (63 strikes) in Monday’s 1-0 setback against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Although he lasted 6 2/3 innings before being relieved by Justin Thomas after allowing the winning run on a bases-loaded pass to Evan Longoria, Bard tested the limits of his pitch count in just his second career start.

“Staying out there - I don’t know what it ended up being, 105, 110 pitches - I think I learned a lot,’’ said Bard, (0-2, 4.63 ERA), who gave up one run while allowing four hits and seven walks to go with seven strikeouts. “I know what it feels like. I know what my body is going to feel like.

“I think when you get up that high, it’s a big jump from 90 to 105 pitches, just physically and mentally, too. It’s hard to maintain focus for that long, for that many pitches, and that’s probably something I can improve on.’’

Asked about facing Longoria with the bases loaded after 107 pitches, Bard said, “I wasn’t thinking about that at all. I was just trying to power the ball through the zone and the funny thing was, my mind-set was good, I was able to slow the game down, slow the situation down, and focus on the mitt.

“Usually when I do two or three of those things I can throw a good clean strike on the outer half [of the plate]. The ball just wasn’t going where I wanted it to, simple as that. Everything was good, felt good, the mind-set was there, the ball just didn’t go where it was supposed to.

“I guess looking back, my legs weren’t quite under me or something like that because the velocity was still good; just lost the release point.’’

Ellsbury: No surgery

Sox general manger Ben Cherington said the team didn’t expect to add an outfielder to replace Jacoby Ellsbury, who had MRI results on his subluxed right shoulder examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles.

“Dr. Yocum is looking at the films we did here in Boston as a second look,’’ Cherington said. “We don’t have another exam planned. We’ve got to let the inflammation and the symptoms subside and let [Ellsbury] get a little more comfortable before we decide range-of-motion stuff.’’

No surgery was being planned.

“At this point, our belief is he can recover from this without surgery, but we’re still gathering information,’’ Cherington said.

Cherington said the club “always has our eyes open’’ for a potential move, but indicated “trades are so infrequent this time of year, because most teams are trying to hold on to the depth they have and not give it away.

“It’s not the easiest time to make trades. But, yeah, we’re looking to see if there’s something out there that will protect us a little bit more, but we’re also considering different internal solutions.’’

Youkilis has day off

Sox manager Bobby Valentine said the reason he kept Kevin Youkilis out of the lineup had nothing to do with the comments he made about his third baseman, telling WHDH-TV Sunday night he thought Youkilis was not “physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.’’ Valentine said he was just taking a precaution with Youkilis’s sore groin. “The training room thought maybe if it was a night game he might be able to [play] and he said he would be available later in the game to pinch hit,’’ Valentine said.

Milestone for Maddon

Rays manager Joe Maddon recorded his 500th win with the club, making him the fifth active manager to have at least 500 wins with his current club, joining the Phillies’ Charlie Manuel, the Angels’ Mike Scioscia, the Twins’ Ron Gardenhire, and the Tigers’ Jim Leyland.

“I’ll take the win, I mean that from the bottom of my heart,’’ said Maddon, 58. “I didn’t even know about this stuff and hopefully there’s going to be another 500, and hopefully another 500 after that.’’

Maddon, now 500-482 in seven seasons with Tampa, credited his milestone “to the quality of the players and organization.

“Whereas the first couple of years spoke to the lack of quality, all of a sudden it got better in Years 3 etc.,’’ he said. “I just happened to be standing in the corner of the dugout. Our guys, it’s just the ability, the skill level, the way this group cares, all that stuff increased on an annual basis. The 500 wins, I just happen to be the steward of this group and I have reaped the benefits of their play. Better baseball players make you a lot smarter manager.’’

Albers gets the call

Matt Albers, who hadn’t pitched since the second game of the season April 7 in Detroit, allowing two runs on two hits in 2/3 innings, got up twice to warm up Monday and finally was summoned from the bullpen in the eighth.

He threw a scoreless inning, despite giving up a pair of hits.

“I’ve been in the bullpen a while and gone this long before without throwing, so you’ve just got to try and stay ready and try to stay loose and be ready,’’ said Albers.

Said Valentine: “It was good to see Matty throw the ball well. Before the game I told him I hadn’t lost his number.’’

Drawing blanks

The Sox were shut out Monday after setting a franchise record with 31 runs in their first three home games of the season. The team suffered its third loss to the Rays on Patriots Day . . . Longoria collected the only RBI on his bases-loaded walk, giving him 30 RBIs at Fenway Park since 2009. For the series, though, Longoria went 1 for 16 with four strikeouts and two walks . . . Carl Crawford was expected to head back to Fort Myers, Fla., Monday to begin extended spring training. Valentine said Crawford was scheduled to DH Tuesday. “He’s excited and ready to go,’’ Valentine said . . . Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, was at Fenway to take in the game and to conduct an ABC interview with “World News Tonight’’ anchor Diane Sawyer. Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com. Nick Cafardo of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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