It is expected that Daniel Bard will be activated prior to the Red Sox and Angels game Thursday night, in what will be a long awaited return to the big leagues for the former fireball pitcher. Bard was sent to triple-A Pawtucket back on June 3 and has spent nearly three months trying to find his former groove that saw him as one of the most dominant set up pitchers in all of baseball.
But something went terribly wrong when the Red Sox and Bard attempted to make the conversion to a starter. Maybe it was greed on Bard’s behalf to try and cash in on the elite starter’s money that so many make around the majors, or call it a lousy premonition that Sox management had that Bard would become an elusive starter. Both sides were wrong and now we can only sit and wonder if one of the Red Sox great, future arms may be ruined for the rest of his career.
Bard rejoined the big club on Wednesday and is waiting for the official activation that will see his name once again on the 25-man roster. There have been a few changes to the club since Bard was last seen wearing his number 51 when he was hitting batters on what seemed to be a regular basis. Gone are Josh Beckett and Kelly Shoppach, both of whom Bard would have spent a considerable amount of time with trying to learn the starting pitcher’s role.
The interesting case with Bard’s promotion is that his numbers in Pawtucket haven’t improved any since his demotion. Granted he hasn’t walked a batter in his last three appearances, he still owned an ERA of 7.03 and a WHIP of 1.88 in 31 games, totaling 32.0 innings pitched. He struck out 32 batters, walked 29 and hit 10 so it’s difficult to argue that he has regained his once dominating control.
At least this much we know; when we do see Bard for the first time since being recalled, we can be confident that it will be out of the bullpen in relief and not starting a game that would see the Red Sox almost immediately behind in. The club has plenty of other starters who are proficient at doing that.