Valentine has faith in Bard despite setback

Valentine has faith in Bard despite setback

BOSTON -- The struggles are continuing for right-hander Daniel Bard at Triple-A Pawtucket. Not even the return a couple of weeks ago to his more comfortable relief role has led to much of an improvement.

On Thursday night, Bard produced perhaps his shakiest outing yet, facing four batters and not getting any of them out. Bard came in with runners on second and third and proceeded to hit a batter, allow a two-run double, hit another batter and issue a walk.

In the outing prior to that, Bard didn't allow a batter to reach, and he was optimistic about his progress.

Bard has made 12 appearances since his demotion to Pawtucket, going 1-0 with an 8.78 ERA.

However, manager Bobby Valentine thinks Bard can avoid the plight of pitchers like Rick Ankiel and Dontrelle Willis, who lost their control and never got it back.

Bard went through a similar situation in the Minor Leagues in 2007 and became an elite setup man for the Red Sox for three seasons.

"I have confidence Daniel is going to be just fine," said Valentine. "I guess he had a control problem once in his life and he got over it, and he seemed to get to a very, very high level of performance. I think he'll do it again."