Category archive: Josh Bard

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MORROW MAY WORK OUT OF 'PEN (10:33 p.m. ET)
Seattle right-hander Brandon Morrow may have to pitch out of the bullpen to get his work in this spring.

Morrow, who is projected to be the Mariners' fifth starter, has been slowed by a stiff forearm in training camp and hasn't pitched in a Cactus League game since March 1. There are concerns the 24-year-old's arm won't be strong enough to handle the rigors of starting when the regular season begins April 6.

Manager Don Wakamatsu in the past has shot down talk of using Morrow in the bullpen, but now is keeping his options open.

Wakamatsu said Saturday that he thinks it will come down to the last week of camp, to see how much Morrow progresses, before he can decide whether he will be a starter.

GLAVINE NEARING ROTATION SPOT (7:56 p.m. ET)
Tom Glavine knows the end of his career is in sight and he wants to leave on his own terms.

The Atlanta Braves lefty pitched three pain-free innings against his former team in his first start this spring, allowing only two hits Saturday in a 12-1 win over the New York Mets.

Glavine had thrown a simulated game Monday and said he felt as though he'd be ready to join the rotation in about a month.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner has 305 wins, but he started a career-low 13 games last year, going 2-4 before his season was cut short due to elbow surgery. Glavine, who will turn 43 on Wednesday, contemplated retirement but said he wasn't quite finished.

YOUKILIS ON WAY BACK, DREW OUT (6:38 p.m. ET)
Kevin Youkilis could rejoin the Boston Red Sox lineup on Monday after giving his sprained left ankle more time to lead. J.D. Drew could need more time to get back on the field after bruising a hand when getting hit by a pitch.

Youkilis returned to the Red Sox on Wednesday from the World Baseball Classic with a mild sprain and mild Achilles tendinitis in his left foot. The first baseman had been wearing a hard plastic boot, then was examined Saturday by team physician Dr. Peter Asnis and took batting practice while wearing running shoes.

"He can maybe get a couple of at-bats on Monday," manager Terry Francona before his team's game against the Marlins in Jupiter. "We certainly don't want this to linger."

Drew did not participate in an on-field workout Saturday, a day after he was hit on the right hand by a Donnie Veal pitch. X-rays Friday were negative.

"Just kind of hang out until it feels well enough to start swinging and stuff," Drew said. "It feels pretty good, just stiff and sore from the bruise. But fortunately, it doesn't look like it's broke or anything. Hopefully, I don't have any issues when I start coming back to swing."

Francona said the team will proceed cautiously.

"It will be completely day to day on how he feels and how quickly the bruise doesn't feel bruised," the manager said.

UPTON HIT BY PITCH, BUT SHOULD BE OK (6:37 p.m. ET)
Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton was hit by a pitch on the left hand during a minor league game, however the Rays don't believe it's a serious injury.

X-rays were negative Saturday. The defending AL champions said the center fielder has a bone bruise and described his status as day to day. Upton has been limited throughout spring training while rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery.

The 24-year-old played most of last year with an injured left shoulder that affected his production at the plate. He had surgery shortly after the World Series and has yet to appear in a major league exhibition this spring training.

CHAVEZ GETS THE GO-AHEAD (4:25 p.m. ET)
Eric Chavez has been cleared to take batting practice for the first time in nearly two weeks.

Chavez, rehabbing from shoulder surgery, was tested Saturday using pulleys and swinging a bat without a ball. Chavez had not swung a bat since a setback on March. 8.

In other A's news, left-hander Dallas Braden was scratched from his scheduled start in Saturday's split-squad game against the Mariners at Peoria. Braden had a root canal operation on Friday and was not ready to pitch. He was rescheduled for Sunday against the White Sox.

LHP PARRISH TO UNDERGO SHOULDER SURGERY
(3:57 p.m. ET)

Left-hander John Parrish will return to Baltimore for exploratory arthroscopic procedure on his sore pitching shoulder.

Parrish, with the Orioles on a minor league contract, hasn't pitched during spring training because of the shoulder injury.

The 31-year-old was 1-1 with a 4.04 ERA last year for Toronto in six starts and seven relief appearances.

NATIONALS SIGN CATCHER BARD (3:22 p.m. ET)
The Washington Nationals signed catcher Josh Bard to a minor-league deal on Saturday, adding another veteran to compete for the backup job behind Jesus Flores.

Bard was released by the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, and will join the Nationals' big league camp. He would make $600,000 this year if he makes the major league team.

The 30-year-old catcher played 57 games for San Diego last season, hitting .202 with a home run and 16 RBIs. His best season came in 2006, when he hit .338 with nine home runs and 40 RBIs in 93 games for the Padres.

Wil Nieves caught 68 games as the Nationals' backup last season, and figured to have a roster spot locked up until Washington signed Bard. The two will now compete for the backup spot.

DREW, YOUKILIS TO RETURN SOON (2:17 p.m. ET)

Right fielder J.D. Drew was held out of the Boston Red Sox's lineup with an injured right hand Saturday, a day after getting hit by a pitch from Pirates left-hander Donnie Veal.

"It'll be day-to-day on how he feels, and how quickly the bruise doesn't feel bruised," manager Terry Francona said, according to MLB.com.

First baseman Kevin Youkilis, who returned this week to Fort Myers, Fla., from the World Baseball Classic with a mild sprained ankle and mild Achilles tendinitis in his left foot, took batting practice and fielded ground balls Saturday.

Youkilis could return to live games as soon as Monday, MLB.com reported.

"We'll see about that," Francona said. "Since he's in the boot and not feeling too good, we certainly don't want this to linger, so I'll talk to Youk and the medical people about that."

HUGHES AMONG 6 SENT TO MINOR LEAGUE CAMP (2:01 p.m. ET)

Phil Hughes was among six right-handed pitchers the New York Yankees sent down Saturday to their minor league spring training camp.

"I told him that he had a great camp and to keep working," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said of Hughes, according to MLB.com. "We told him about all the things that we saw and what he needs to continue to work on.

"He's in a great frame of mind. He knows he did great here, but he also knows that it's not in his best interest to now be held back."

Hughes joined Anthony Claggett, and Steven Jackson, who were sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Humberto Sanchez was shipped to Double-A Trenton, while Sergio Mitre and Jason Johnson were also shipped to the Yankees' minor league camp.

"Because his pitch count continues to climb, there's no innings to provide here," Cashman said of Hughes.

GARDENHIRE BACKS LHP MIJARES (11:12 a.m. ET)

The Minnesota Twins are standing behind the left-handed Jose Mijares despite a shaky spring in which he's recorded a 11.37 ERA.

"What we need to do is get him straightened out, right here," manager Ron Gardenhire said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I can always throw problems to somebody else, and not try to do it ourselves right here before we break camp.

"But he's a pretty good arm, and if we can figure this out, we'll be a better baseball team."

Gardenhire had been critical of Mijares, hinting of a connection to his performance and a lack of conditioning.

The rookie continued to struggle Friday, going to a 3-0 count on three Yankees hitters and allowing a home run to Todd Linden and singles to Doug Bernier and Juan Miranda.

"We're going to keep trying to get him going in the right direction," Gardenhire said, according to the newspaper. "He did some pretty good things last year, and even though I'm a little bit upset at him, we have to get this kid right. That's our job."

LF ANDERSON ON MEND (10:49 a.m. ET)

Left fielder Garret Anderson said he felt much improved Friday since pulling a calf muscle while warming up for a spring training game two weeks ago.

"[Trainers] just wanted me to get the muscle fatigued and see how it responded the next day," Anderson said, according to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I didn't feel anything when I ran at all. I think we waited more than enough time to start running."

Anderson said he expected to return as early as next week.

LACKEY, ANGELS STILL IN TALKS (10:38 a.m. ET)

John Lackey's four-year, $27-million deal expires after this season, and according to the right-hander, the Angels' efforts to re-sign him to a new deal before the season starts continue to poke along -- without much steam.

"They're not trying very hard," Lackey said Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It's kind of on them at this point. I love playing here and I'd like to stay, but I've put myself into a category that they need to get to."

One of the possible problems for the Angels?

Lackey may be using CC Sabathia's seven-year, $161-million contract he received from the New York Yankees this offseason as a measuring stick.

"Except for his time in the National League, look at the numbers," Lackey said, according to the newspaper. "That's how you do it; you throw out comparables."

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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March, 18, 2009
03/18/09
12:35
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WHITE SOX ON LOOKOUT FOR LEADOFF (9:20 p.m. ET)
The Chicago White Sox are still looking for their leadoff batter.

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Manager Ozzie Guillen said he and his staff spent "hours" discussing the subject before DeWayne Wise went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in that spot for the White Sox in a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.

"I wish I had the answer right now," Guillen said. "You'll see a lot of teams struggle looking for leadoff guys. Not many people in baseball have the ideal leadoff guy, the igniter, the guy who can make things happen."

Other than Wise, the White Sox are considering Jerry Owens for the top spot in the lineup. Both players are also competing for the starting center field job. Another possibility is second baseman Chris Gets, who went 2-for-3 to raise his average to .364.

Wise, who got off to a great start but has faded a bit lately, said he is trying to be more selective at the plate so he can draw walks. But he says "it's kind of tough to do that," because he's not yet an established player who can afford to pass up good pitches.

"It's tough because I'm not like a Jermaine Dye or a Jim Thome Those guys know they're going to be here," Wise said. "I know I got to go up there and hit. At the same time, I want to be able to get on base and draw walks."

HERNANDEZ TAKING CHARGE (8:52 p.m. ET)
Livan Hernandez strengthened his grip on the No. 5 spot in the New York Mets' rotation with five strong innings in a 7-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Hernandez scattered five hits and allowed just one run, striking out three. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 3.07 in 14 2/3 innings this spring.

"[Hernandez] was pretty good," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "He has a good presence about him on the mound, and in the dugout he brings a different energy. He's put himself in a good position."

Relying primarily on his sinker, Hernandez came nowhere close to his pregame pitch count of 85 before handing a 2-1 lead to Freddy Garcia in the sixth.

Hernandez credited former Dodgers and Giants pitching coach Ron Perranoski with teaching him the sinker while he was with San Francisco in 2003.

Garcia (0-3) struggled again, allowing five runs and seven hits in two innings, raising his spring ERA to 16.71.

"[Garcia's] in a tough spot," Manuel said. "But the good thing is he's healthy and you're happy to see that."

Hernandez's consistency this spring seems to be distancing him from the competition in the race for the final spot in the rotation.

Tim Redding, the only candidate in camp on a major league contract, will start the season on the disabled list, while rookie Jonathan Niese, who is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA, and Garcia have yet to pitch to the level of Hernandez.

DAVIS CRUISES IN RETURN (8:23 p.m. ET)
Arizona's Doug Davis cruised in his return to the mound after missing a start with tightness in his biceps.

He held the Brewers without a hit in 2 1/3 scoreless innings in Arizona's 4-1 loss to Milwaukee. The left-hander struck out two, walked one and hit a batter.

"I felt really good out there, sometimes too good, overthrowing a little bit," Davis said.

Davis said he did not completely test his biceps muscle because "I wasn't real confident in snapping off the curveball as of right now." He said he's sure that his confidence in the arm will improve in the coming starts.

"All in all it was a great day," Davis said.

Arizona manager Bob Melvin said OF Eric Byrnes will make his spring debut Friday in center field against the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe.

Byrnes, recovering from hamstring injuries, played left field and went 1-for-4 with a homer in a minor league game on Tuesday.

GALLARDO GOING STRONG (8:19 p.m. ET)
The loss of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets to free agency might be a little less painful for Milwaukee with the way Yovani Gallardo is pitching this spring.

The 23-year-old right-hander held Arizona hitless through five innings in the Brewers' 4-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Arizona managed just one hit the entire game.

Gallardo, who missed virtually all of last season with knee injuries, faced only 16 batters, one more than the minimum. He struck out three and walked three. Two of the base runners were erased, one on a rundown and the other on a double play.

"It felt great. I think all my pitches were working for me," Gallardo said. "I was able to mix and match every pitch and get ahead of the hitters."

Gallardo has held opponents without a run in four of his five starts this spring. His second shutout performance gives him a string of nine consecutive scoreless innings.

GRIFFEY TO START IN LEFT (7:30 p.m. ET)
Ken Griffey Jr. will make his first start of the spring in left field when the Seattle Mariners play the San Diego Padres on Thursday.

Griffey has been relegated to DH for Seattle while recovering from offseason knee surgery. The 39-year-old has said he hopes to play in the outfield regularly once the season begins.

Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu says the plan is to play Griffey three consecutive games, first in left then DH then back in left field.

Griffey did not play in the Mariners' road game against Kansas City on Wednesday and is batting only .143 this spring. He has yet to hit his first home run since re-signing with his first team just before the start of camp and hasn't driven in a run.

HAMMEL MAKING STRIDES (7:02 p.m. ET)
Jason Hammel is making strides toward earning a spot in Tampa Bay's rotation, and injured outfielders B.J. Upton and Matt Joyce are closer to getting back on the field for the Rays.

Hammel settled down after a shaky start to pitch four innings in the Rays' 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Upton and Joyce saw limited action in a Class A game.

Hammel, competing with Jeff Niemann and David Price for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, allowed three runs and five hits, including Edwin Encarnacion's second-inning homer, and sacrifice flies to Joey Votto and Ryan Hanigan.

"I liked how he came back the last two innings," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He went from 50 pitches for the first two to 19 over the last two innings. I liked the way he settled in and pitched well after that."

Upton, recovering from offseason surgery on his left (nonthrowing) shoulder, played three innings on defense but did not bat.

Maddon said the 24-year-old center fielder, who hit seven homers to tie an AL record for one postseason, will bat and play in the field during another minor league game Thursday.

There's no timetable for him to play in a major league exhibition.

Joyce, sidelined most of spring training by right leg tendinitis, went 1-for-2 with a walk and played three innings in the field.

"It felt really good," said Joyce, obtained this winter in a trade that sent right-hander Edwin Jackson to the Detroit Tigers.

"Just getting your legs back into it. That's the biggest thing, running on and off the field," Joyce said. "You'll be surprised at how quick it fades. How your body has to adjust. [Upton] said the same thing."

RAMIREZ RESTS; PROCTOR OUT (6:37 p.m. ET)
All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez was scratched from the Florida Marlins' lineup for a second straight game because of discomfort in his right shoulder.

Ramirez hasn't played since Saturday, when he served as the designated hitter. The Marlins were hoping that he'd be ready after skipping Monday's game and the team's off day Tuesday.

Ramirez told manager Fredi Gonzalez he couldn't play about 10 minutes before the team bus left the Marlins' complex in Jupiter for the drive to Viera to play the Nationals.

Also, the Marlins are preparing to start the season without right-hander Scott Proctor, who hasn't pitched since Feb. 27 because of discomfort from scar tissue in his right elbow.

BARD'S SECOND STINT WITH RED SOX OVER (5:55 p.m. ET)
The Boston Red Sox have released Josh Bard, 2 months after signing the backup catcher.

Bard will receive $262,295 in termination pay rather than a $1.6 million salary this year. After Wednesday, players with nonguaranteed contracts put on waivers receive 45 days' termination pay rather than 30.

General manager Theo Epstein says the move was made as a testament to the performance of the team's other young catchers, especially George Kottaras, who spent last season at Triple-A Pawtucket and was a September call-up.

Kottaras would move into the backup role behind Jason Varitek. His, primary responsibility will be to catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Bard played seven games with the Red Sox in 2006. He was signed to catch Wakefield's knuckleball, but struggled and was traded to San Diego along with reliever Cla Meredith for catcher Doug Mirabelli.

Bard batted .202 with a homer and 16 RBIs in 178 at-bats for the Padres last season. His career batting average is .265, with 28 home runs and 168 RBIs in 431 games with the Indians, Red Sox and Padres.

He was hitting .429 in six major league appearances during spring training.

EATON TRYING TO MAKE HIS CASE (5:54 p.m. ET)
Adam Eaton's bid to join the Orioles' rotation ended better than it started in St. Louis' 3-2 win over the Baltimore. Eaton issued a four-pitch walk to Skip Schumaker to start the first inning then gave up a single to Chris Duncan.

Schumaker scored on Ty Wigginton's errant throw attempting to double-up Albert Pujols. Pujols scored on Ryan Ludwick's single.

"It took me a little bit to get comfortable again," Eaton said. "After that I settled down and made some good pitches, but luck wasn't on my side and a couple balls found a hole."

Eaton, who was released by Philadelphia earlier this spring, allowed only one baserunner after the first inning and faced the minimum nine batters in his final three innings.

"I thought he was better," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley, comparing Wednesday's start to Eaton's first outing. "His changeup was better. His fastball for the most part, with the exception of the first hitter, was down."

CARPENTER HAS SOLID OUTING (5:51 p.m. ET)
With catcher Yadier Molina back, Chris Carpenter had his best outing of the spring.

Molina returned from the World Baseball Classic and caught six scoreless innings from Carpenter in the St. Louis Cardinals' 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

"Carp makes it look easy," said Molina, who went 1-for-3. "Anytime you catch a pitcher like Carp, it's easy."

Making his fourth start, Carpenter, who missed most of the last two seasons with arm and shoulder trouble, turned in the Cardinals' longest outing so far. He has thrown 14 scoreless innings this spring.

"As the game went on I started feeling better, which is nice," said Carpenter, who retired the final eight batters he faced. "I was able to get my delivery together and start making quality pitches."

REHABBING BILLINGSLEY GOES FIVE INNINGS (5:48 p.m. ET)
While the rest of his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates took a day off, pitcher Chad Billingsley worked five innings in a minor league intrasquad game.

Billingsley, coming back from a broken left ankle, allowed five hits and three earned runs, including a two-run homer to Austin Gallagher, who batted .293 with 33 doubles and 55 RBIs in 78 games last year with Class A Inland Empire.

Billingsley threw 76 pitches and struck out five, allowing one walk and hitting a batter.

He broke his ankle last winter when he slipped on ice outside his home in Pennsylvania. The fracture required surgery.

When Billingsley pitched Wednesday, Hall of Famer Bob Gibson was among those watching the game. His son Chris is a first baseman who signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers last November.

TRIBE'S MILLER FACING SURGERY (5:19 p.m. ET)
Reliever Adam Miller is facing career-threatening reconstructive finger surgery if he is unable to find a new way to pitch effectively.

Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff said Miller, who underwent surgery on his right middle finger last year, will spend the next seven to 10 days throwing to see if he can command his pitches without pain. If Miller can't, he will have a procedure where a tendon will be taken from his wrist to reattach the tendon in his finger.

Soloff said the operation would cost Miller this season and perhaps end his career. Soloff said a buildup of scar tissue could make it impossible to pitch.

The hard-throwing 24-year-old Miller came to training camp with a chance to win a job in Cleveland's bullpen.

BIG UNIT HAS BICEPS SORENESS (4:08 p.m. ET)
Giants left-hander Randy Johnson is scheduled to start against Seattle on Monday after skipping a turn because of soreness in his biceps.

Manager Bruce Bochy says Johnson's arm is healthy. He was held out of his start Wednesday against the Cubs for precautionary reasons. Johnson is scheduled to pitch a bullpen session Saturday.

The 45-year-old Johnson has a 1.08 ERA this spring, his first with the Giants. He has given up a run in 8 1/3 innings and has 12 strikeouts.

ROYALS PLACE GOBBLE ON WAIVERS (3:55 p.m. ET)
Left-handed reliever Jimmy Gobble was placed on waivers by the Royals and is expected to be released Friday.

The 27-year-old pitcher has been in the organization since 1999 and was 22-23 with a 5.23 ERA in 235 career games. He debuted with the major league club in 2003.

Gobble was 0-2 with an 8.81 ERA and one save in 39 relief appearances last season. A stiff lower back forced him onto the disabled list from July to September, but he didn't allow a run in his final eight appearances after he returned.

By placing him on waivers Wednesday, Gobble will get $221,311 in termination pay instead of $1.35 million salary.

The Royals also signed right-hander Anthony Lerew to a minor league contract and invited him to big league camp.

LANNAN GETS OPENING DAY NOD (1:52 p.m. ET)
John Lannan, a rookie in 2008 who started last season in the minors, will be the Nationals' Opening Day starter against the Marlins.

Lannan, 24, went 9-15 with a 3.91 ERA last season. In six innings over two starts this spring, he has not allowed a run.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

TRY, TRY AGAIN (10:56 a.m. ET)
In 2006, the Red Sox tried Josh Bard as knuckleballer pitcher Tim Wakefield's catcher. It worked fine in spring training, but not in the regular season. Ten passed balls later, the Red Sox dealt Bard and brought back Doug Mirabelli as Wakefield's backstop.

Three years later, Bard is back with the Sox, and Wakefield thinks this time things will be better.

"I said three years ago that I never had somebody work as hard as he did to try to catch me and do the right things," Wakefield said of Bard, according to the Boston Herald. "He was truly a professional with his attitude and his preparation for the way he went about his work. I look forward to working with him again."

"I think with the experience he had in '06, he'll take that into the season. I think his biggest mistake was trying to catch like [Mirabelli] caught me. That wasn't his style. I think this spring he''l be able to create his own style, with his confidence a little better, too."

TEAHEN EYES POSITION SWAP (10:48 a.m. ET)
Mark Teahen moved to the outfield two years ago when the Royals wanted to make room for Alex Gordon at third base. But the arrival of Coco Crisp has Teahen eying another switch, this time to second base -- a position he last played in junior college.

"I think that's the one spot that looks like that could [be available]," he said, according to the Kansas City Star. And I prefer being in the infield. So if I can figure out second base, and play a good big-league second base, everyone's OK with that."

It won't be easy. Teahen will miss time in spring training to play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. And there are three other players vying for the position. But the team is willing to go along with the attempted switch, since he'll otherwise be a $3.575 million utility player.

"The only thing that bothers me in asking someone [inexperienced] to play second is the fear factor on the blind plays -- the feeds from third base and shortstop," manager Trey Hillman said, according to the Star. "Anybody who knows Mark knows he plays with no fear. So that's not a problem."