Daniel Bard’s move from the bullpen to the rotation is officially over after 10 starts, as the right-hander told the Red Sox that he no longer wants to be a starter.
“I know I can be a good starter, but I already know I’m a great reliever,” Bard explained to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston.
McDonald reports that Bard talked recently with general manager Ben Cherington, who’s in agreement with the move back to the bullpen. Of course, now he must actually pitch well enough at Triple-A to deserve a call-up and Bard has struggled some as a reliever for Pawtucket since his demotion.
Bard had a 5.30 ERA in 10 starts, showing decreased velocity with more walks (36) than strikeouts (34) in 54 innings. By comparison he had a 2.87 ERA and 213/77 K/BB ratio in 198 career innings as a reliever, ranking among the most dominant setup men in baseball from 2009-2011.
Whether or not you think the idea of giving Bard an opportunity to start was a sound one it seems fairly obvious that the Red Sox could have handled the situation better and it’s even more obvious that Bard simply didn’t pitch well in the rotation. Now the question is whether he can rediscover his old, overpowering raw stuff and how quickly he’ll be back in the Red Sox’s bullpen.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.