Daniel Bard is now committed to being a relief pitcher, but we may not see him back in the majors in the near future.
Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal brings word that Bard issued three walks and hit a batter while recording just one out last night with Triple-A Pawtucket. He threw just nine out of his 26 pitches for strikes and two of the walks forced in runs with the bases loaded.
No surprise here, but PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler believes Bard’s inability to find the strike zone is rooted in mechanical issues.
“He just doesn’t feel it, I guess. He just can’t repeat with consistency, which is why he’s here, and then you see the wheel start spinning and things kind of snowball. That’s the whole deal — trying to get that feel and that consistency to try to repeat.”
Bard began the season in the Red Sox starting rotation, but he was demoted last month after posting a 5.24 ERA and 34/37 K/BB ratio in 55 innings. Over nine appearances with Triple-A Pawtucket, the 27-year-old right-hander has a 7.15 ERA, eight walks, four hit batsman and three wild pitches in 11 1/3 innings pitched. Yikes.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.