New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine confirmed Sunday what many have suspected: Daniel Bard is going to be tried as a starter during spring training.
This via the Boston Globe‘s Michael Vega.
Bard was drafted as a starter out of the University of North Carolina in 2006 before being moved to the bullpen after a brutal debut season at Single-A in 2007. He’s open to being transitioned back, and the Red Sox are hopeful of catching lightning in a bottle.
Bard averaged 97.3 mph with his fastball in 2011. He’ll probably scale that back some, and begin implementing his curve and slider a bit more, but he has great ability and a decent chance to succeed.
If it doesn’t work out in spring camp, no harm done — they’ll simply move him back to his late-innings role.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.