Bard's whirlwind week ends in 'pen session at Wrigley
CHICAGO -- It's been a crazy summer for right-hander Daniel Bard, who found himself throwing a bullpen session at Wrigley Field for the Cubs on Friday, ending a week in which he'd been in four states in five days.
The Cubs claimed Bard, once considered one of the best setup pitchers in baseball, off waivers from the Red Sox. For now, he'll work with pitching coach Chris Bosio on the side, which he did on Friday. There is no timetable as to when he will get in a game, manager Dale Sveum said.
Bard's session didn't start well, as he cut his thumb on his first pitch and it started to bleed. The right side of his pant leg was stained in blood, but all that was needed was a bandage.
When he was designated, Bard said, he was in "baseball limbo" and not sure what would happen next.
"I was ready to hit free agency this offseason, which was fine, and then this opportunity came about, and God's plans are a little better than mine," Bard said. "I was happy to hear from [president of baseball operations] Theo [Epstein]. We had a good chat and talked about the plan moving forward, and here I am.
"He's a guy who has seen me at my best and at my worst," Bard added of Epstein, who was Boston's general manager when he selected Bard in the first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. "It's pretty awesome to have somebody you know is on your side."
Bard's struggles started when he was switched from the bullpen to the rotation.
"I don't think it was a bad move," he said on Friday. "We -- the coaches over there and myself included -- tried to change too many things to turn me from a reliever to a starter. I could have just taken the pitcher I was in the bullpen for four years and plopped that into a starting role and probably would have been fine.
"We tried to overhaul in Spring Training and throw more changeups, cut the ball, sink the ball, change speeds with the fastball, things that I hadn't done in the past. It worked a few times, and I had some good starts, but it got me out of my game, and it's been a little bit of a journey here the past year, and some injuries have gotten in the way as well. I'm healthy now. [To have] a fresh environment to start working in is really exciting for me."
Bard had been bothered by a strained abdominal muscle, and two months after that happened, he retore it in a different spot and went about three months without pitching in a game.