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Minor league notes: Bard is still bringing the heat

04.23.09 at 6:43 pm ET
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After finishing spring training as one of the most impressive pitchers in camp, reliever Daniel Bard isn’t letting up just because he was sent to Triple A Pawtucket. His latest memory-maker? Bard struck out the side on nine pitches to pick up his third save in as many chances, against Rochester Wednesday.

Bard has allowed just one run (a homer) in six appearances over nine innings with a 16-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 innings. The home run he allowed on April 18 to Lehigh Valley’s Jeremy Slayden was not only the only run he has allowed but also the lone hit surrendered by the reliever.

Bard isn’t alone in making an early impression in the Sox minor leagues with his Pawtucket teammate, pitcher Michael Bowden, allowing just one run in 14 innings over three starts this season. Another familiar face from major league camp in spring training has been catcher Mark Wagner, who drew at least one walk in each of his first six games while reaching base safely in each of his initial 10 games. Wagner has also caught six of his eight attempted base-stealers.

First-round pick Casey Kelly continues his stint as a pitcher before morphing into a hitter later this season, giving up two hits over five innings for Single A Greenville, marking the third straight five-inning shutout stint for Kelly. In 15 innings he has struck out 12 and walked just two. Also for Greenville, Anthony Rizzo is 11 for 20 over his last six games and has eight extra-base hits.

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