- Gordon Edes, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Daniel Bard spoke with reporters in the dugout after batting practice. Here’s what he had to say:
“It’s good to be here, man. It’s been an interesting road. I think going to Portland for a little while was probably the best thing. It was a good group of guys, and I couldn’t ask for more out of the coaching staff, they were awesome. But it’s always nice to see this place.’’
Satisfied with the adjustments you made?
“My delivery feels simple right now. It feels easy to repeat. Kip [Portland pitching coach Bob Kipper] was a great guy to work with. He kind of pounds things into your head, almost to where it gets annoying, but it’s good. I think everyone agrees who has played for him it sticks and he genuinely cares. I couldn’t ask for a better guy to work with.’’
Are you here to stay?
“I wasn’t given anything besides told to be here for the game today. I’m just going to take it one day at a time, the same thing I’ve done this year up to this point, wherever that takes me.
“I’ve been watching the team from afar, a fun team to watch. Obviously I know all these guys pretty well, so it’s going to be fun to be a part of it.’’
Shock to be sent to Portland at the end of camp?
“Not nearly as much of a shock as last year was, getting sent down. I think that hit me more like a ton of bricks when that happened. This year I knew I was battling for a spot from the first day of spring training. I’m realistic. I knew I had options, and there were other guys who didn’t. So if it came down to it, you don’t lose guys. I understand that side of the game.
“At the same time, I felt like I showed a lot of things in spring training that showed I was over what happened last year and was ready to move forward. Their decision was to do that in Portland. Obviously, you’re not extremely thrilled when you get that news, but at the same time you try not to sit and pout about it too long and say, ‘Hey, this is the way it is and I’m going to try and make the best of the situation.’ That’s what I’m trying to do.’’
How is your fastball command?
“It’s been really good. It’s been a thing where even if I come out of my delivery on a pitch, I’m able to get back into it in one or two pitches, rather than spend the whole inning trying to find it kind of thing. I think that’s just come from simplifying things, shortening the leg kick a little bit. Things have gotten a little more athletic, a little more rhythm to it, and that’s just allowed me to find it a lot quicker out there.’’
Importance of fastball command?
“I think so, just being in the zone. I don’t know how hard I’ve been throwing or anything, but I know that I’ve been getting a lot of defensive swings on my fastball, righties and lefties. A lot of broken bats mixed in. That always tells you you’re doing something right, that your fastball has got a little life to it.’’
History with Kipper?
“We go way back to 2006 and ‘07. I had him in ’08, too. I’ve always had a good relationship with him. I don’t think I ever realized how much I valued him until this year. He was the guy who I played catch with every day. He caught my flat grounds. The feedback was just awesome, the input.
“He just loves to focus on positives. Even in one or two outings that maybe didn’t go as well, he’d say, ‘How many pitches did you throw that you liked?’ I’d say, ‘Seven.’ He’d say, ‘Let’s focus on those seven, and get back at it tomorrow.
“Boom. That was it. Erase the negative., A good guy to be around, for sure.’’
You’ll be around John Farrell now. What factor will he play?
“I have a great relationship with John. I’ve known him since I was 12 years old. He’s got my interests at heart. How he wants to use me, how he wants to deal with it, I’m all ears. I’m open to it.’’
Available today after throwing last night?
“Yes. It was a quick inning. Ten pitches. Good to go.’’
Impressions of team from afar?
“It’s a fun team to watch. Feel like, watching from afar, they’re never out of a game. They play hard all the way through the late innings, and the pitching has been unbelievable. Great to see Jonny [Lester] and Clay [Buchholz] having the years they’re having. It’s been fun to watch, and hopefully more fun to be a part of.''
Not letting the setting impact you?
“I think that was the case an outing or two last year, and maybe this spring. I’ve had to learn how to do it. I think I’ve gotten better at it. Just being in the moment, not worrying about last outing, next outing, where I need to go. Just be in the moment, and the adrenaline kind of takes over from there. Pitching in this stadium, it’s kind of hard not to be that way, being in the moment.’’
Upper range of velocity has not returned. Will it?
“I don’t know. Got a lot of miles on this arm. [Smiles] I feel good. The arm feels good. I feel healthy. Like I said, I’m just reading hitters’ swings, getting a lot of weak swings on the fastball. That tells me it’s doing what it’s supposed to. However it’s coming out, I’m happy with it.’’