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Daniel Bard’s secret weapon

03.11.10 at 3:10 pm ET
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Luis Exposito's mitt made Daniel Bard's fastballs seem even faster Wednesday afternoon.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Besides the retirement of Nomar Garciaparra, there was another memorable moment to come out of the Red Sox’ game with Tampa Bay Wednesday afternoon at City of Palms Park.

“That,” Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard said, “was the best I’ve ever had.”

No, the subject of Bard’s observation wasn’t a fastball that once again registered near the century mark. No, this had everything to do with sound, not sight. What the relief pitcher was talking about was the popping everybody throughout the ballpark could here once Bard’s fastballs hit catcher Luis Exposito’s mitt.

At one point, one reporter in the press box bellowed out after a particularly loud pitch, “That sounds like 100.2 (mph) to me.”

“I love it when it’s like that,” Bard said. “I threw that first pitch and thought, ‘This is going to be good.’ I love throwing to Expo.”

Bard went on to say that a lot of the veteran catchers have “pillow mitts” which don’t supply the the kind acoustics found with Exposito’s All-Star model, which just started breaking in at the beginning of spring training.

Asked about the sound made when Bard’s pitches hit his mitt, Exposito — who caught the pitcher two years ago in Single A Greenville — had a little different take.

“I think it’s the pitcher, not the mitt,” Exposito said. “When you throw that hard it’s going to make some sort of sound.”

According to Bard, however, this was unlike any other tone he had heard before.

“That,” Bard said, “was awesome.”

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