It was just one pitch in February, the baseball equivalent of a speck of dust. But like those crime scene investigators who rule prime time, we must examine even the tiniest piece of particulate matter for the possibility of significance when it comes to Daniel Bard.

The Red Sox right-hander is attempting to rebound from a lost 2012, and plenty of people are pulling for him, be it fans who want their dominant set-up man back, teammates who know how last season tore him up or team officials who believe Bard can regain his 2010-11 form.

As a result, Bard’s outings now face a scrutiny typically reserved for confirmation hearings, with each pitch poked, prodded and analyzed until it can be held up as proof that he’s either turned the corner or fallen over the cliff for good.

“It’s probably different than most relievers experience,” Bard acknowledged yesterday. “It comes with the territory of being me, I guess.”

Today we’re here to focus on an encouraging pitch during Bard’s scoreless fifth inning in a 6-3 loss to the Rays yesterday.