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Bard regains feel in simulated game

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Daniel Bard's quest during Spring Training has been to rediscover the mechanics and command that made him one of baseball's best relievers as recently as two seasons ago. That's why the Red Sox had him put the brakes on over the last week and work on things on the side rather than pitching in games.

Bard threw 20 pitches in a simulated game on Monday morning, and he was pleased with the way it went. One of the things Bard has been focusing on the past few days is improving his stride direction.

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"I think it's just one of those things that created a bad habit last year, trying to create velocity in the wrong places, trying to reach out, trying to over rotate," Bard said. "Today it felt like me -- felt like the old me. I felt like there was power behind the ball, the four-seamer's pretty true. Plus some downhill plane, and that's what we're looking for."

The tentative plan is for Bard to pitch in his next Grapefruit League game on Thursday.

How does he feel about his velocity?

"I don't where it is, but I know it feels good coming out," Bard said. "Even in the first two outings, just looking at hitter's reactions on most of the fastballs, and especially today. I threw three changeups. It was pretty much all fastballs. I know [Bryce] Brentz is a good fastball hitter. To see I can actually get in on those guys a little bit and see the ball riding in on their hands is a good feeling."

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