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Jonathan Papelbon on Daniel Bard: ‘I really do think he’s going to be fine’

07.10.12 at 2:47 am ET
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KANSAS CITY ‘€“ Jonathan Papelbon has a unique perspective of Daniel Bard‘€™s situation. Not only is the Phillies’€™ closer good friends with Bard, but he also has lived the life that the righty is currently weathering ‘€“ going from starter to reliever to starter to reliever.

It’€™s why Papelbon initially offered advice regarding what awaited Bard this offseason, and also why the closer has the cache to check in on the struggling Red Sox pitcher going forward.

‘€œI haven’€™t talked to him. I’€™ve been meaning to actually talk to him here lately, but, you know, Daniel’€™s the kind of guy ‘€¦ he’€™s a mature athlete and he knows what it’€™s about,’€ Papelbon said during the National League All-Stars’€™ media availability Monday.

‘€œHe’€™s going to be fine. I really do think he’€™s going to be fine. He’€™s taking some bumps and bruises right now but who doesn’€™t. You’€™re not in the big leagues if you’€™re not taking bumps and bruises. I took my bumps and bruises in 2010. You’€™re going to take some bumps and bruises. I think he’€™ll become better.’€

Bard’€™s current bumps and bruises consist of the struggles he is experiencing with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. The reliever has an 8.16 ERA over 13 appearances, striking out 16 and walking 10.

He is, however coming off a perfect one-inning outing against Syracuse Sunday in which the hurler struck out two.

‘€œI know that it is tough,’€ Papelbon said of switching roles. ‘€œIt’€™s tough to go back and forth. Whether or not, I don’€™t know if it will affect him to that extent, I don’€™t know. He’€™s a pretty mentally strong kid. He really is. I saw that in the bullpen. I saw days he got beat up and the way he came back. ‘€¦ I saw him have success, the way he handled that. I think he’€™ll be fine.’€

It was a roller coaster ride Papelbon talked to Bard about throughout the offseason.

‘€œI talked to Daniel. I talked to Daniel before they made that move, about that move,’€ Papelbon said. ‘€œHe was confident he could go do that. I’€™m sure he expected that, you know what, there might be something of a learning curve here when I do make this move. That’€™s part of it.

‘€œI didn’€™t really warn him about anything. I just told him, ‘€˜You have to go do what makes you happy and what you think you’€™re going to be best at. I think that’€™s what he chose. I think, you know, with him, that’€™s where his heart was at and he thought he could do it. With me, it wasn’€™t that way. They wanted me to start and I went in that office and said, ‘€˜I ain’€™t gonna start.’€™’€

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