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Red Sox notes: Daniel Bard explains Saturday night struggles; Ryan Lavarnway sent down

04.28.13 at 12:12 am ET
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Daniel Bard

After what was perceived as a fairly significant step forward in his road back to a relied-upon major league reliever, Daniel Bard took a step back Saturday night during the Red Sox’ 8-4 win over Houston.

Making his second appearance with the Red Sox this season, Bard came on in the eighth inning and threw just nine pitches, eight of which were balls. The wildness resulted in two walks and a charged run after Matt Dominguez’ RBI single off Bard’s replacement, Alex Wilson.

“My slot got a little high,” said Bard, who threw all fastballs to both Carlos Pena and Carlos Corporan. “I was locked in in the bullpen. I was throwing it as good as I can throw the ball and then I got into the game it probably crept up a little high, which is usually not what I want to be doing. Just a matter of adjusting it back to a lower slot. It’s nice when you’re able to recognize it right away, get to work and fix it for the next time.”

In his previous appearance, Bard threw eight of his 18 pitches in the strike zone, coming away with 10 strikes. He finished the outing – his first since being promoted from Double-A Portland – giving up a hit while striking out one.

After walking Pena on four pitches, Bard received a visit from pitching coach Juan Nieves.

“He said it was my tempo, said I was a little slower to the plate than I had been,” the reliever said. “I think that’s probably a valid point. Nothing major. I think it’s just slot wasn’t there and I didn’t have time to make adjustments – that’s on me.

“You learn from it and move on. Fortunately we still won the game and I think that’s all that really matters in the end.”

“I think Bardo was maybe going a little too slow,” said Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “His momentum, tempo was a little slow. I know we’ve talked about it. When he’s quicker to the plate, he’s been downward angle and getting the ball in the zone. He still had the good stuff, still throwing hard. Nothing I don’t think that he can’t fix pretty easily. Wilson did a great job. We needed that. He came in a tough situation, got us out of a big jam, struck out a good hitter with the bases loaded. That was big.”

- After the game, catcher Ryan Lavarnway was told he would be heading back down to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Sunday’s starting pitcher, John Lackey.

“I’m working my butt off down there and it’s been noticed,” he said before leaving the clubhouse. “I just going to go down and keep doing my thing and keep getting better every day.

“For me the more repetition I get, the better I’m going to keep getting. If there’s not a defined role for me here this is probably the best move for me.”

Lavarnway, who was called up Thursday, didn’t get an at-bat during his three-game stint with the Sox. He had been hitting .310 with a homer, seven RBI and seven walks in 11 games. The catcher had also thrown out four of eight baserunners attempting to steal.

“I feel good,” he said. “I feel like, at the plate, I’m at a place where I can make pitch-to-pitch adjustments on my own based on how I feel instead of having to finish the at-bat and ask the hitting coach advice. Last year I was kind of searching. This year I know what direction I want to be going in and I’m on my way.”

- Reliever Craig Breslow took a positive step toward rejoining the Red Sox Saturday night, throwing a scoreless inning for Triple-A Pawtucket against Columbus at McCoy Stadium. Breslow — who was coming off a three-run stint in Portland, in which he didn’t get an out, in his first rehab outing — allowed a hit, a walk and struck out a batter while throwing 15 pitches (7 strikes). The lefty will throw for the PawSox again Sunday.

Read More: Craig Breslow, Daniel Bard, ryan lavarnway,
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