04/11/08 11:25 PM ET
Bard pleased with plentiful playing time
Padres to lean on catcher with Barrett on disabled list
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
That suits Bard and manager Bud Black just fine.
Black has said that since Barrett went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a sprained right elbow, Bard will see the lion's share of the playing time in Barrett's absence, though he won't shy away from using rookie Colt Morton.
But figure on seeing plenty of Bard, who appeared in a career-high 118 games in 2007 and made 103 starts behind the plate, including 11 consecutive starts to end the season.
"He wants to [play every day]. Like all players, he wants to play. I think last year was a pretty good test to see if he could handle it," Black said. "I know mentally he can handle it, physically he can. He has the desire.
"Physically, it's a demanding position," Black said. "I don't know if he's going to do a Jim Sundberg [who holds the Major League record for catching 90 percent of his team's games in six different seasons]. But he wants to, but I don't know if that's the right thing to do with Josh."
Just don't expect Bard to go asking for a day off, and not just because the Padres had a day off Thursday and another coming on Monday. Bard takes pride in preparing himself to play every day and prepared for such each of the last three winters at Coors Field in Denver, near his offseason home.
"The way I train is to get ready to catch 130 games. I don't think you can train any way but that way," Bard said. "With our training staff, strength coach, message therapists and all the things [we're] blessed to have over here, I don't think there's any excuse not being able to play every day."
The extra wear-and-tear certainly didn't have an adverse effect on Bard's game last season, as he hit .329 in September with eight multi-hit games. He played the last month and a half with an injured right wrist that needed minor surgery after the season.
"I understand that my position is tasking, but I caught 27 of the last 29 [games] last year, banged up. I think a lot of it is mental," Bard said. "We are looking for players who want to play every day over here. I learned at a young age, the good players, the guys that I admired, were there ready to play. That's the mindset that I take."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.