|Jonathan Papelbon on Daniel Bard: ‘I really do think he’s going to be fine’||07.10.12 at 2:47 am ET|
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.
“I 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.
“He’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.
“I know that it is tough,” Papelbon said of switching roles. “It’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.
“I talked to Daniel. I talked to Daniel before they made that move, about that move,” Papelbon said. “He 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.
“I 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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