Former Sox great reaches out to Daniel Bard
While former Sox pitcher Bill Lee may be long retired from the MLB, he has not let that stop him from playing an active role in the Red Sox organization, sometimes without telling anyone that he is dropping by for a visit.
Bill “Spaceman” Lee earned a reputation in Boston as one of their better lefthanders in the 70s, but also one of their craziest. Lee was well known for his controversial stances on popular topics of the day and for many of his off the cuff remarks with which he placed no filter. Still, Lee has a great baseball mind and any pitcher willing to put up with some of his antics is bound to learn a thing or two from the famous southpaw.
Lee’s latest project, when he isn’t pitching in numerous semi-pro leagues, is to help Daniel Bard find his “groove.” Lee believes that he found the key to Bard’s success and can help him regain his form back when he was one of the best relief pitchers in the game. Lee claims to be an expert at helping younger pitchers, if that’s true he better get on a plane to Boston and have a talk with Bard before things get out of hand.
“I’m like a horse whisperer, I can break bad habits. I’m good at breaking bad habits because I’ve had enough of my own. I’ve seen ’em all” Lee said.
While many of the analysts are quick to point to Bard’s arm slot or his fear of attacking the middle of the plate, Lee seems to be focusing on another area of Bard’s pitching that seems to be flying under the radar: his breathing.
“Correct his breathing, correct his pitching. Got to work from that principle first. And I told ’em to take him to Mount Katahdin and run him all the way back to the ballpark. By the time he got back, he wouldn’t have a breathing problem” Lee said.
Whether it’s Bard’s breathing or his arm slot hopefully someone can get through to him so he can go back to blowing fastballs by opposing hitters. If Bard can once again become an effective reliever the Sox are in a very good position going forward, but if he continues to flounder then the management behind him becoming a starter back in 2012 will be charged with one of the greatest mistakes of the century.
So far on the 2013 season Bard has a 9.00 ERA and shows similar control and velocity issues to last year. While he has shown improvement there is still a long way to go for the young reliever, and after his performance (or lack thereof) in the game on Saturday night versus the Houston Astros he may very well have punched his ticket back to Pawtucket.