Results tagged ‘ Daniel Bard ’

3/9 Bard: “I haven’t felt this good in so long”

For the first time in what seems like an eternity, pitcher Daniel Bard got to face batters, and it felt great. Bard, 29, threw a simulated game on Sunday. It may seem like a small step but it was huge for the right-hander, who is coming back after undergoing Thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in January 2014, which forced him to miss all of last year.

“It felt really good — it was fun,” said Bard, who appeared briefly in four games for the Rangers’ Class A Hickory team last year as part of his rehab, then took the rest of the summer off. “The velocity was nice to have but I was more excited that I was pounding the zone and throwing a lot of strikes.”

It was Bard’s first sim game this spring.

“It’s the first time I’ve had a hitter in the box since last year, but I don’t know if I count those,” he said of the Minor League games. “Since I’ve been feeling good, it’s the first time I’ve had a hitter in the box. It was fun.”

The right-hander, who was one of the game’s top set-up pitchers in 2010 when he posted a 1.93 ERA in 73 games with the Red Sox, expected to throw another sim game before there’s any talk of getting into a Cactus League game.

“I’ve been pushing [pitching coach Chris Bosio] as hard as I can to get out in a real game but their conservative approach seems to be working well,” Bard said. “I get it. When I step outside myself, I see what they’re saying. For me, I haven’t felt this good in so long, I want to keep pushing it.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/25 Daniel Bard’s comeback

Instead of pitching last summer, Daniel Bard rode a bike across Iowa. He then flew to Europe and drove around France, Switzerland and Germany with his wife.

“I said, I need a break, and I took it, and it’s the best thing I could’ve done,” Bard said.

He needed the extended vacation because Bard had gone from being one of the best set-up pitchers in the game with the Red Sox to struggling to retire Minor League hitters.

Bard is now in the Cubs camp, and there is a story about his comeback and how determined he is to get back to the winning form of 2010 when he was one of the toughest set-up pitchers in the American League. He discovered he had Thoracic outlet syndrome and had surgery in January 2014.

If you get a chance, read the story on

— Carrie Muskat

12/2 Roster moves

The Cubs signed infielder Donnie Murphy and catcher George Kottaras to one-year contracts on Monday, and tendered contracts to seven arbitration eligible players, including Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood. The Cubs non-tendered relievers Daniel Bard and Chang-Yong Lim as well as infielder Mat Gamel, who are now free agents. Lim was not eligible for arbitration.

Besides Barney, Samardzija and Wood, the other arbitration-eligible players tendered 2014 contracts include pitchers Pedro Strop and James Russell; infielder Luis Valbuena; and outfielder Nate Schierholtz. A total of 28 players from the Cubs’ 40-man roster were tendered 2014 contracts, including 21 not yet eligible for arbitration.

With all the moves, the Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 37 players.

Murphy, 30, who was arbitration eligible, agreed to terms on a $825,000 deal. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, where he batted .265. In 46 games with the Cubs, Murphy batted .255 and hit 11 home runs.

Kottaras, who also was arbitration eligible, signed a one-year, $1.075 million contract that includes incentives. Acquired last Tuesday from the Royals in a trade for cash considerations, Kottaras made $1 million last season. He is projected to back up Welington Castillo behind the plate.

According to, Samardzija is projected to get $4.9 million in 2014, while Schierholtz is projected to get $4.4 million; Wood $3.6 million; Barney $2.1 million; Russell $1.7 million; Valbuena $1.5 million; and Strop $1 million.

The Cubs already have committed $49 million to six players for 2014 and will be paying $14 million to the Yankees to cover the last year of Alfonso Soriano’s contract.

The Cubs are keeping an eye on the now expanded list of free agents. Last year, they signed Schierholtz after he was non-tendered by the Phillies, and the outfielder became a regular in right field. Schierholtz set career highs in home runs (21), doubles (32) and RBIs (68), and led the team with a .259 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Bard, once a dominant set-up pitcher with the Red Sox, was claimed off waivers in September. At that time, Theo Epstein, who knew Bard from his Boston days, said the Cubs were committed to the right-hander for the long haul. Bard had struggled after the Red Sox tried to convert him to a starter and battled a strained abdominal muscle this season.

When he joined the Cubs, Bard did not get into a game but worked on the side with pitching coach Chris Bosio. They videotaped the sessions, even though Bard was unaware of the cameras as the Cubs hid one in the ivy and another in a door at Wrigley Field.

Bard, 28, appeared in three games in Puerto Rico last month, but retired only one of the 13 batters he faced. He walked nine, hit three batters, and threw four wild pitches in those outings. The Cubs could still re-sign Bard, who made $1.8625 million this year.

Gamel, 28, sidelined most of this season because of a torn right anterior cruciate ligament, was acquired off waivers from the Brewers in early October. Lim, 37, signed as a free agent with the Cubs, and appeared in six games in September.

— Carrie Muskat

12/2 Cubs won’t tender Bard

The Cubs have decided to not tender a contract to reliever Daniel Bard. Once a dominant set-up pitcher with the Red Sox, Bard was claimed off waivers in September. At that time, Theo Epstein told the right-hander they were committed to him for the long haul. Bard struggled after the Red Sox tried to convert him to a starter and battled a strained abdominal muscle this season.

When he joined the Cubs, Bard did not get into a game but worked on the side with pitching coach Chris Bosio. They videotaped the sessions, even though Bard was unaware of the cameras as the Cubs hid one in the ivy and another in a door at Wrigley Field.

In November, Bard appeared in three games for Caguas in Puerto Rico, but was able to retire one of the 13 batters he faced. He gave up seven earned runs, walked nine, hit three batters, and threw four wild pitches.

The right-hander is now a free agent. The Cubs could still re-sign Bard, who made $1.8625 million this year.

— Carrie Muskat

11/17 Saturday’s winter league games

* Daniel Bard continued to struggle in Winter League play. He walked five and gave up three runs on Saturday in his third appearance for Criollos de Caguas in Puerto Rico. The right-hander started the seventh, and walked the first two batters he faced, then threw a wild pitch, then walked another to load the bases. One run scored on a wild pitch, and then another run scored on another wild pitch. Bard walked two more batters before he was lifted.

In three relief appearances in Puerto Rico so far, Bard has given up seven earned runs on nine walks and four wild pitches, has hit three batters, and has yet to give up a hit. He’s retired one of the 13 batters faced over three outings.

* Luis Valbuena made his third straight start at second base on Saturday for Cardenales de Lara in Venezuela, and for the first time, was hitless.

* Junior Lake was 1-for-4, scored a run and stole two bases in Estrellas’ 6-4 loss to Toros in the Dominican Republic.

10/7 Extra bases from Mesa, AZ

* Monday was a big day for Kyuji Fujikawa. The right-hander, who was limited to 12 games with the Cubs because of arm problems that eventually resulted in Tommy John surgery on his elbow, threw a baseball for about five minutes Monday at Fitch Park in Mesa. It may not sound like much, but it was another step in his rehab. He had been able to play catch with a tennis ball, but Monday was the first time he was allowed to throw a baseball. Fujikawa has spent the summer in Mesa rehabbing three to four hours a day. Even though most pitchers need two years to recover from the surgery, Fujikawa said his goal is to be ready for 2014.

* Right-handed pitcher Daniel Bard, claimed off waivers from the Red Sox, is working out at Fitch Park as well as infielder Mat Gamel, whom the Cubs claimed from the Brewers. Bard was expected to throw off the mound Tuesday.

Gamel did not play this season after re-tearing his ACL early in Spring Training. Was he surprised the Brewers put him on waivers?

“As far as a business standpoint, I completely understand where they’re coming from,” Gamel said. “It’s unfortunate. In the same breath, I’m happy for the new opportunity and looking forward to it and am excited about it. It’s new life.”

He can play third and first, and originally came up as a third baseman. He’s been with the Brewers for eight years.

“I don’t know any other organization,” he said. “Maybe this will be a good fresh start for me.”

Gamel planned to train in Mesa this week. He wants to show the Cubs he’s healthy. He re-injured his leg at the eight-month mark of his rehab, which was supposed to take six to nine months.

“I think it worked well this time,” he said. “It feels good, it feels strong and that’s the important thing.”

* The Arizona Fall League gets underway Tuesday with the Mesa Solar Sox playing at Glendale against the Desert Dogs. Expect to see Jorge Soler in right field for most of the AFL games. Cubs prospects Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Wes Darvill, Lendy Castillo, Dallas Beeler, Matt Loosen, and Armando Rivero also are on the Mesa roster. Beeler and Loosen will start.

* On Tuesday night, the Cubs’ instructional league team will play at 5:30 p.m. Arizona time at HoHoKam Park in Mesa. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are expected to be in town for the game.

* Cubs strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss will spend three weeks in November with Starlin Castro in the Dominican Republic to get the shortstop ready for the 2014 season.

* Cubs coach Franklin Font was headed to Venezuela soon to be a coach on Buddy Bailey’s Winter League team.

— Carrie Muskat

9/8 Cubs notebook

* Right-hander Daniel Bard, whom the Cubs claimed off waivers from the Red Sox, threw a second bullpen on Sunday. There is no timetable for him to get into a game, and he may not in the Cubs’ remaining 20 games.

“It’d be nice to see but it’s his timetable and we’ll evaluate and we’ll find out how he’s doing and how he’s feeling,” Sveum said.

Bard was sidelined most of the season with a strained abdominal muscle, and struggled with his consistency.

* Darwin Barney got a rare day off Sunday.

“His numbers against [Yovani] Gallardo aren’t staggering, so I figured it’d be a good day to give him a day going into the long road trip,” Sveum said. “We’ll get [Donnie] Murphy’s bat in there as well as [Luis] Valbuena’s left-handed bat.”

* The Cubs have a tough trip ahead as the Reds and Pirates are battling for position in the playoffs.

“You never want to be a spoiler, and not that there’s really any spoiling going on,” Sveum said since the Reds and Pirates appear set for posteason baseball. “Cincinnati is getting hot, and they’ve put themselves in the division race as well. It’ll be fun, the atmosphere in Pittsburgh as well as Cincinnati. You’re getting in that playoff type atmosphere when you’re trying to win a division, and later, it’ll be the same when we get to St. Louis. It’s good for everybody to see that and play in those atmospheres. It’s different.”

* The Cubs are one win away from matching their win total last year.

“Obviously, the difference between this year and last year is coming down the stretch, we have a lot better pitching going out there every day,” Sveum said. “Our starting pitching has been pretty good. There’s satisfaction but we’re still a long way away from where we want to be.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/6 Bard takes 1st step

It’s been a crazy summer for Daniel Bard, who found himself on Friday throwing a bullpen session at Wrigley Field for the Cubs, ending a week in which he’d been in four states in five days. The Cubs claimed Bard, once considered one of the best set-up pitchers in baseball, off waivers from the Red Sox. For now, he’ll work with Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio on the side, which he did Friday. There is no timetable as to when he would get in a game, manager Dale Sveum said.

Bard’s session didn’t start well as he cut his thumb on the first pitch, and it started to bleed. The right side of his pant leg was stained in blood but it’s a problem that just needed a bandage, he said.

When the right-hander was designated, Bard said he was in “baseball limbo” and not sure what would happen next.

“I was ready to hit free agency this offseason, which was fine, and then this opportunity came about, and God’s plans are a little better than mine,” he said. “I was happy to hear from Theo [Epstein]. We had a good chat and talked about the plan moving forward and here I am.”

Epstein was the Red Sox GM when he selected Bard in the first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, and is now president of baseball operations for the Cubs.

“He’s a guy who has seen me at my best, and at my worst,” Bard said of Epstein. “It’s pretty awesome to have somebody you know is on your side.”

Bard’s struggles started when he was switched from the bullpen to starting.

“I don’t think it was a bad move,” he said Friday. “We, the coaches over there and myself included, we tried to change too many things to turn me from a reliever to a starter. I could’ve just taken the pitcher I was in the bullpen for four years and plopped that into a starting role and probably would’ve been fine.

“We tried to overhaul in Spring Training, and throw more changeups, cut the ball, sink the ball, change speeds with the fastball, things that I hadn’t done in the past,” Bard said. “It worked a few times, and I had some good starts, but it got me out of my game and it’s been a little bit of a journey here the past year and some injuries have gotten in the way as well. I’m healthy now. It’s a fresh environment to start working in is really exciting for me.”

Bard was bothered by a strained abdominal muscle, and said two months after that happened, he re-tore it in a different spot. The right-hander went about three months without pitching in a game.

— Carrie Muskat

9/4 Cubs claim Bard

The Cubs claimed right-handed pitcher Daniel Bard off waivers on Wednesday. He will join the Cubs on Friday at Wrigley Field and workout with pitching coach Chris Bosio.

Bard was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Monday. Once considered one of the best set-up pitchers in baseball, he has struggled with his consistency this season. Bard pitched in two games with the Red Sox this season before he was sent to the Minor Leagues. He totaled 6 1/3 innings and threw 10 wild pitches with 23 walks at three Minor League levels in Boston’s organization.

Bard made his Major League debut in May 2009, and was an effective set-up pitcher for then closer Jonathan Papelbon. He set Red Sox records in 2010 and ’11 for holds with 32 and 34, respectively. The Red Sox tried to convert him to a starter prior to the 2012 season but he was 4-6 with a 5.30 ERA in 10 starts.

To make room for Bard, outfielder Cole Gillespie was designated for assignment.