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Bard ready to work on mechanics

He’ll fix mechanics while in Pawtucket

By Mike Scandura
Globe Correspondent / June 8, 2012
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PAWTUCKET, R.I. - Daniel Bard didn’t smash a watercooler when the Red Sox informed him Tuesday that he was being optioned to Pawtucket.

But he didn’t agree with the move, either.

“It’s not my decision,’’ the righthander said Thursday before Pawtucket’s game against Indianapolis. “I’m just an employee here. Obviously, I’m not thrilled with it. If it was me making the decision, it might have been different.

“Once I get the anger and disappointment out of the way, you just have to try to make the best out of the situation.’’

The situation with Boston is why Bard is now wearing a Triple A uniform.

In 11 starts, he was 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA, 52 hits, 37 walks, and only 34 strikeouts in 55 innings. And over his last seven starts, his ERA was 6.06.

Bard believes the problems that led to his ineffectiveness commenced in spring training, when he was converted from reliever to starter.

“I think we came into spring training and thought, ‘OK, how do we need to change everything I do to fit the starting role?’ ’’ Bard said. “I don’t think we needed to change as much as we thought we did.

“We tweaked a lot of things mechanically trying to simplify me . . . trying to get the best windup that I’m comfortable with.

“We probably did a little too much. You can’t think and pitch at the same time. I think that’s the key to it.’’

Bard will start for Pawtucket Friday.

“I was told to give him the ball and let him go out and throw,’’ said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. “He’s going to throw an inning for us. I think he’s going to throw three days later and we’ll go from there.

“It’s pretty simple. Give him the ball and let him go out and throw. Nobody’s down here to reinvent the wheel.’’

What role will Bard eventually fill?

“I think there’s a lot of uncertainty on their part,’’ said Bard, who threw a bullpen session Wednesday. “They asked me how I felt about the starter-reliever thing and I said I would throw out of the pen for flexibility. But if they want me to start, that’s what I’ll do.’’

Bard also felt the lack of effectiveness affected him mentally.

“No matter if I was in a bullpen session or in a game, it just wasn’t the same as it used to be,’’ he said. “I think that translates mentally in that it’s hard to trust your stuff.

“When I was throwing 98 [miles per hour] out of the bullpen and now my best fastball when I’m reaching back is 92 or 93, there’s something that comes with that.

“For me, I think it started with changing the mechanics. The velocity went down a little bit. The command wasn’t what it was. Who knows what my velocity will settle in at once we get all of this figured out? But it’s a matter of finding a delivery and getting comfortable.’’

With Pawtucket, Bard will pitch fewer innings than he normally would as a starter.

“I think it’s more to be able to repeat my delivery more often,’’ Bard said. “If I go out there tomorrow and throw five innings and I feel the same as I have in my last couple starts but get through five, we’re wasting bullets.

“If I do it again a couple of days later and it feels good, that would be a step in the right direction.’’

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