In 2006, the Red Sox tried Josh Bard as knuckleballer pitcher Tim Wakefield's catcher. It worked fine in spring training, but not in the regular season. Ten passed balls later, the Red Sox dealt Bard and brought back Doug Mirabelli as Wakefield's backstop.
Three years later, Bard is back with the Sox, and Wakefield thinks this time things will be better.
"I said three years ago that I never had somebody work as hard as he did to try to catch me and do the right things," Wakefield said of Bard, according to the Boston Herald. "He was truly a professional with his attitude and his preparation for the way he went about his work. I look forward to working with him again."
"I think with the experience he had in '06, he'll take that into the season. I think his biggest mistake was trying to catch like [Mirabelli] caught me. That wasn't his style. I think this spring he''l be able to create his own style, with his confidence a little better, too."
TEAHEN EYES POSITION SWAP (10:48 a.m. ET)
Mark Teahen moved to the outfield two years ago when the Royals wanted to make room for Alex Gordon at third base. But the arrival of Coco Crisp has Teahen eying another switch, this time to second base -- a position he last played in junior college.
"I think that's the one spot that looks like that could [be available]," he said, according to the Kansas City Star. And I prefer being in the infield. So if I can figure out second base, and play a good big-league second base, everyone's OK with that."
It won't be easy. Teahen will miss time in spring training to play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. And there are three other players vying for the position. But the team is willing to go along with the attempted switch, since he'll otherwise be a $3.575 million utility player.
"The only thing that bothers me in asking someone [inexperienced] to play second is the fear factor on the blind plays -- the feeds from third base and shortstop," manager Trey Hillman said, according to the Star. "Anybody who knows Mark knows he plays with no fear. So that's not a problem."