Red Sox

Bard happy to be back with Boston

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Bard happy to be back with Boston

OAKLAND -- Six Red Sox relievers came out of the bullpen and all but one -- Junichi Tazawa -- gave up at least one run in the debacle that was the 20-2 humiliation to the Oakland A's Friday night.

But there was some small solace for another. Daniel Bard, who allowed a run on two hits in the sixth inning, made his return to the big leagues after a nearly three-month demotion to the minor leagues.

"The adrenaline was there,'' said Bard. "It's not the eighth inning with a one-run lead, but it's a lot bigger stage than the one I've pitched on the last couple of months. It was fun. I felt comfortable out there.

"I wasn't quite as sharp as I would have liked to be, but I haven't pitched in four days, so, it was good to get back out there.''

Bard retired Josh Donaldson, the first major league hitter he'd faced since June 3, on an infield pop-up before allowing a solo homer to former teammate George Kottaras.

After a single to Cliff Pennington, he retired Coco Crisp, another former teammate, on a swinging bunt and got Stephen Drew to line out to first for the third out.

"Anytime you go three or four days (without throwing) as a reliever, you want to get back in there, '' said Bard, ''no matter where you're playing. So I was glad I was able to get my feet wet again today.''

Bard said he had some butterflies "but not as much as I expected. I think it's something about going through the same routine, with the same people, warming up throwing to (the same bullpen catcher) and having (bullpen coach Gary) Tuck standing next to me, it's a familiar place for me. So I think that kind of helped me relax a little. I wasn't as sharp as I would have liked to be, but it was really good to be out there.''

Evaluating his stuff, Bard said he was far from perfect. His velocity was down, too, as his fastball topped out at 92 mph.

"But it's almost September,'' he said. "I feel like I worked really hard just to get back here. Everything's not perfect. It's not where I want it. But I've definitely made some big steps in the right direction. I'll just try to continue that for the next month.

"I know I've got to prove some things to some people and I'm ready to do that.''

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday. 

 

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.

The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.

Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:

"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."

After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.