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PAWTUCKET â€“ Daniel Bard got his wish Monday night. Unfortunately for the pitcher, the switch to the bullpen did little inspire confidence that heâ€™s ready to turn the corner.
Working one inning, Bard allowed one run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts as the PawSox saw a ninth-inning rally come up just short in an 11-8 loss to the Gwinnett Braves. Bard ended up tossing 22 pitches, 11 for strikes.
Rather than pitching the first inning on Monday like he did on Friday, Bard was scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen in an unspecified inning. He wound up pitching the sixth inning for the PawSox, who will close out the four-game series with the Braves Tuesday night.
The first two hitters in the frame reached on a single and a walk before a groundout brought home the Bravesâ€™ seventh run of the game. Bard came back to strike out the next two batters, getting Stefan Gartrell to swing and miss on an 83 miles per hour slider for the final out.
Billy Buckner wound up starting the game for the PawSox, allowing seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. The Braves hit five home runs, two by Lance Zawadzki. Down 11-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the locals scored four runs on six hits.
If Aaron Cook passes his mound test with Single-A Lowell on Wednesday, the right-handed pitcher could rejoin the PawSox at some point during the teamâ€™s upcoming eight-game road trip through Buffalo and Syracuse.
As Cookâ€™s agent explained Monday, the month-plus his client has spent on the disabled list was a serious matter.
â€śIt was kind of like someone hit him in the knee with an ax,â€ť said Joe Bick about the violent collision Cook sustained at home plate on May 5, which was later diagnosed as a left knee laceration. â€śHe tried to push the recovery a little sooner that he should have as he had some problems with it splitting open again. Basically he had to back off and let the thing heal up.
â€śHeâ€™s done that and I think heâ€™s pleased with how things are coming along,â€ť Bick added. â€śHe was doing everything that he could to keep his upper body and arm strength in shape. Before he went to Florida [for extended spring training], he threw a bullpen in Boston that I know they were happy about.â€ť
In other injury news, the Red Sox announced Monday that outfielder Cody Ross (left foot fracture) is scheduled to play for Pawtucket this weekend in Buffalo. Also Jason Repko (shoulder) began a rehab assignment with Single-A Greenville Monday, going hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts.