Despite dismal outing, Bard receives reassurance from Sauveur
PAWTUCKET â€” Stop if youâ€™ve heard this before, but PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur feels that embattled reliever Daniel Bard is closer than the numbers suggest.
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Sauveur provided words of reassurance on Wednesday afternoon, one day after Bard had a devil of a time locating the strike zone. You probably know the grizzly numbers by now, but here they are again: On his way to recording one out Tuesday night against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Bard walked four and allowed two runs. Just 10 of the 27 pitches he recorded were strikes.
Despite Bardâ€™s latest bout of misery â€“ one inflated his Triple-A ERA to 7.71 â€“ there are signs that suggest the ills are curable. From Sauveurâ€™s dugout perch, what he saw was a pitcher who was missing the strike zone by not that much.
â€śHe tried to make adjustments, but they didnâ€™t work out,â€ť Sauveur said. â€śMechanically, I thought he looked very good.â€ť
Added manager Arnie Beyeler, â€śIt was everything we were looking for except for the strikes. The slider has been consistent, but he canâ€™t pitch up there (meaning the majors) with just one pitch. Heâ€™s got to command the fastball, but itâ€™s getting more consistent.â€ť
Bard and Sauveur spent a few minutes in Pawtucketâ€™s weight room prior to Wednesdayâ€™s twinbill against the Junior Yankees. After gazing at a computer screen for several minutes, Bard raised his right arm and followed through, the shadow pitching motion suggesting that the student and teacher were discussing Bardâ€™s release point.
â€śHe sees the difference from where he was two years ago and last year compared to where he was at the beginning of this year,â€ť said Sauveur about how handy these in-depth video sessions have been in seeking to put Bard on the right track. â€śWeâ€™re getting close to where he was two years ago and youâ€™re seeing the velocity go up and the command is more around the zone. Heâ€™s just got to find it in the zone.â€ť
With rosters set to expand in a few weeks, Sauveur was asked if thereâ€™s a sense of urgency in restoring Bard to the point that he can be counted on as a dependable late-game option upon rejoining the parent club.
Downplaying the idea, Sauveur responded, â€śItâ€™s a matter of timing. Heâ€™s on the right path. Maybe heâ€™s not going as fast as we all want, but heâ€™s on the right path. I hear all the time that the results arenâ€™t there, but itâ€™s coming.â€ť