GROWING A BIERD IN PAWTUCKET
You may or may not know, but Red Sox minor leaguers are not allowed to have facial hair. No whiskers of any sort. There is one Bierd allowed at McCoy, however. Randor Bierd. The 26 year old righthander came over in January of 2009 from Baltimore for David Pauley. Bierd came off the disabled list on Sunday, after suffering with a sore shoulder for the last month. Randor started for the PawSox in Louisville and went three and a third innings, allowing 2 runs and scattering 7 hits in the 4-3 loss to the Bats. It may not excite the average fan, but it was definitely a step in the right direction. Bierd began the season in the bullpen, piggybacking on starts of men like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Boof Bonser. With both of those guys in Boston, a spot in the rotation opens for the native of the Dominican Republic. Randor moved into the starting rotation back in August and went 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA in seven starts. It was impressive enough to open some eyes and move him into the rotation on a permanent basis.
Originally signed by the Tigers as a nondrafted free agent in 2003, Bierd definitely didn’t take a conventional road to the Majors. He has pitched in 29 games in the big leagues for the Orioles and is working to return with the Sox.
As a young boy in Santo Domingo, Bierd suffered with asthma. “Until I was thirteen, I couldn’t play baseball or any sport. I had lots of trouble breathing.” That all changed when Bierds’ uncle snuck him out of the house to play baseball one day while his mother was working. “My mother didn’t know. She was at work. Right away, I liked baseball. I was pretty good.” Healthwise, an amazing thing happened to the young Bierd. “As soon as I began to play baseball, my breathing trouble went away. It has never come back.” Eventually, his mom found out and she couldn’t fight his new love. It was apparent very quickly that Randor was meant to play the game. Bierd has been generous with his family and will continue to do so. “Every check I get, I send some to my uncle. Without him, I wouldn’t have anything.” Don’t worry, he, like any good son, is taking care of his mom, too. “Right now, I am buying my mother a house in the Dominican.” Bierd beamed as he shared that news with me
The baseball bug has bitten another member of the Bierd clan. His younger brother Jose, is a farm hand in the Mets organization. Like Randor, he is a pitcher. “Jose really didn’t like baseball very much, but he saw the money I made. He likes it much better now.” The younger Bierd, 25, is 2-3, 4.35 with 4 saves for the St. Lucie Mets.
While Bierd toils in the minors, he vividly recalls two incidents that let him know he can pitch at the highest level. “For me, the best moment came when I struck out A-Rod.” Bierd fondly remembers striking out Alex Rodriguez when his Orioles were playing New York. “That was great.” He also likes to recall a moment when he got the best of a future Yankee. “We were playing the Angels and my manager has me walk a man to load the bases and face Mark Texeira. I got Texeira to hit into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded.” The ear to ear grin on Bierds’ was priceless as he recollected the memories.
Although he admits to being a fan of the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki, he is rooting for the Celtics in their NBA Finals matchup with the Lakers. “Boston’s a good team. They will win.” Maybe before too much time passes, the kid who used to have asthma, will be helping a different Boston team to victory.