When he was back in the minors trying to right what was wrong last spring, one day he got a text from Mike Reinold, the shoulder expert who had overseen much of the Red Sox physical program. He suggested that there had been evidence that there may have been some deterioration in 2011 that could be related to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. In other conversations, Reinold said that had been evidence of deterioration that affected the left shoulders and hence deliveries of Bard, Beckett and Jon Papelbon, but it was slight.
The correspondence was unusual, because Reinold had been replaced by the Red Sox and has been working with Eric Cressey, among others, but he never stopped caring about players with whom he had built a relationship.
In Arizona last spring, Beckett confided that before he was traded to the Dodgers on Aug. 25, 2012, he had almost no feel in his pitching hand. Bard did not have feel problems to that extent, but does remember some issues with his shoulder and the way he gripped the ball. .........
So when Bard came home from Puerto Rico, very discouraged, Milchin had him fly to Boston to meet with Reinold. He then went to see TOS specialists, including Dr. Pearl. They thought he should have the surgery. “Dr. Pearl thinks more pitchers get affected by this than was previously realized,” says Bard. “He said there are probably more vascular problems that had been addressed in the past. There’s so much wear, so much that goes into pitching. I did remember this—that by late August in 2011, I felt tired, and didn’t know why. There was no numbness, but my velocity was down, which I couldn’t understand. I was coming off a stretch in which I thought I pitched the best I’d ever pitched.”