Daniel Bard struggling in Puerto Rican Winter League

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Daniel Bard is healthy and hoping to reestablish himself in the Puerto Rican Winter League. But the experiment is not off to a very promising start.

According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, the 28-year-old walked five batters and gave up three earned runs Saturday in his third appearance for Criollos de Caguas. He threw multiple wild pitches in the inning and has now retired just one of the 13 hitters he’s faced since joining the winter ball team.

In three total relief appearances so far for Criollos de Caguas, Bard has surrendered seven earned runs on nine walks and four wild pitches. He has hit three batters. It’s not uncommon for struggling players — even those with major league experience — to be released from winter league teams midseason. And it sure seems like Bard will soon meet that fate.

Bard was put on waivers by the Red Sox in September and claimed a few days later by the Cubs.

The right-hander registered a 1.93 ERA across 74 2/3 innings for Boston in 2010, but he appeared in just two major league games this year and had a 6.46 ERA between rookie ball and Double-A. The Cubs will likely invite him to camp next spring, but he’ll be pitching for a minor league roster spot.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.