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Updated: June 4th, 2012 9:56pm
Twins' pick at No. 42: Georgia Tech right-hander Luke Bard

Twins' pick at No. 42: Georgia Tech right-hander Luke Bard

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins made it back-to-back pitchers by selecting Georgia Tech junior right-hander Luke Bard with the No. 42 pick in Monday night's Major League Baseball amateur draft.

Bard, the 21-year-old younger brother of Red Sox right-hander Daniel Bard, has pitched mostly out of the bullpen throughout his college career, but the Twins view him as a starter.

"We think he has a legitimate chance to start," said Twins scouting director Deron Johnson.

"He's got a three-pitch mix, a really good slider. He can run a slider up to 87, 88 -- a true slider. A good changeup, good feel for the changeup. He's got realy good arm action. He's got a good delivery. We see no reason why he can't start. He runs his fastball anywhere from 92 to 96. We'll roll the dice with that. We thought we'd get a player with some upside."

Bard was shut down early this spring due to a strained right lat muscle, but the injury is not considered serious. He posted a 0.99 ERA in 27 1/3 innings this year, both as a starter and a reliever, 26 strikeouts, six walks and zero home runs allowed.

As a sophomore in 2011 Bard posted a 2.72 ERA with eight saves, 46 strikeouts, 19 walks and only two home runs allowed in 49 2/3 innings -- almost all as a reliever. 

"He's already throwing," Johnson said regarding the injury. "He won't pitch in the postseason for them. ... Our doctors cleared him and said he's low to moderate risk, so we took a gamble and we're happy with the pick. I would say hopefully sometime mid-summer, late-summer he'll be on the mound."

Baseball America rated Bard as the 11th best prospect in the Atlantic Coast Conference heading into the season. He was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 16th round of the 2009 draft but instead decided to play college ball for Georgia Tech.

"At his best Bard is a prototypical power closer, with a 92-94 heater and a hard slider," Baseball America wrote in a recent write-up. "In the Cape League in 2011 he worked as a starter and sat mostly in the 89-92 range with arm-side sink, and he tended to hit a wall around the middle innings. He focused on developing his changeup, but he still lacks feel for the pitch, and he proviles better as a fastball-slider reliever."

The Twins acquired the No. 42 pick as compensation for Jason Kubel signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks.



Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Jason Kubel
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