TORONTO — As others fiercely debate what his role should be, Daniel Bard is sleeping like a baby. One benefit to being a starter is not having to get geared up every day.
“It’s a lot easier to sleep at night when you didn’t just pitch the eighth inning of a game or warm up. You get that adrenalin flowing at about 10:30 at night it makes going to sleep a lot harder,” Bard said “From that respect, it’s been nice.”
That ends on Tuesday when he makes his first career start, facing the Jays and Kyle Drabek.
“Considering he’s probably been the guy who’s been talked about the most the first three games and he hasn’t thrown a pitch yet, I’m dying for him to throw a pitch,” manager Bobby Valentine said on Monday.
Valentine has spoken to Bard about maintaining his focus as outsiders ponder what role he should have.
“We’ve talked and he gets it,” Valentine said. “Poor guy has been thrown into a situation that no one should have to be thrown into, really, before his first major league start of the season. Words aren’t going to do anything more than his performance will, that’s for sure.”
Bard said it’s “not fair” to judge the bullpen on a handful of games. He then passed on a question about what his role should be.
“It’s not for me to decide,” Bard said. “Right now I’m a starter and I’m trying to be the best one I can be.”
Bard, 26, was one of the premier set-up men in the game for three seasons. He had a 1.05 WHIP and averaged 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. But he never lost the desire to start.
Bard has 24.1 innings of experience against the Blue Jays, more than any other team. He knows their lineup well and is confident.
“Lot of work in to get here. The opportunity finally presented itself and I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s something I always thought I could do once I proved to myself I could consistently get hitters out at this level.”