FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When Daniel Bard is truly back, he will get on the mound and be locked in from the first pitch. If the right-hander isn't, he will make the adjustment within a couple of pitches.
The righty reliever isn't there quite yet, and that was evident Tuesday during an 8-7 loss, when he gave up two hits and three runs while walking a batter in an inning of work against the Orioles.
"I could have been out of the inning with a little bit better luck. My mechanics were just a tick off," said Bard, who hadn't allowed a run in his first five Grapefruit League appearances. "My misses were pretty much all in the same spot. If you go back and look, I was up and arm side with a lot of my pitches and didn't make a good adjustment until the last three pitches of the inning."
In this spring of trying to regain his feel after last year's misstep, such bumps in the road are probably natural, but Bard knows it's on him to fix things in quicker fashion once the games start for real.
"I just wish I would have done it a little sooner, but it's always a good sign when things maybe don't start out great but they get better and not worse," Bard said. "I think I did that today. It was just a little too late. I was off from the beginning."
The Red Sox have less than two weeks to go before Opening Day. Bard will get some more chances to secure a roster spot. If not, he has Minor League options left.
"The one thing that we have seen is that first hitter takes him two or three pitches to get in the flow of the inning," said manager John Farrell. "Today, he fell behind 2-0 prior to the double to [Manny] Machado."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.