May 29, 2012; Boston, MA USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Daniel Bard (51) throws a pitch in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Bard Demoted Again As Joel Hanrahan Expected To Return

Daniel Bard has once again been demoted to Double A Portland by the Red Sox.  Bard got the bad news after Sunday’s 6-1 victory over the Houston Astros.  Closer Joel Hanrahan, recovering from his hamstring strain at Triple A Pawtucket, is expected to be called up to take the roster spot.

Bard made two appearances after being called up this past Wednesday.  The first one was a fairly clean inning on Thursday.  But yesterday, Bard entered an 8-3 game and walked the only two batters he faced before being quickly pulled by John Farrell. He only managed to throw one of his nine pitches for a strike in an ugly performance.

I think at this point, we have to say the Red Sox have no idea what to do next with Bard.  Farrell and others say all the right things about getting his arm slot and mechanics corrected, but the bottom line is the Red Sox may have just ruined this guy’s career with that asinine experiment last year in trying to make him a starter.

I, and many in Red Sox Nation, still do not understand the purpose of that fiasco besides it being a way to find a cheap fifth starter.  As much of a lightning rod as Bobby Valentine was when he was here last year, he was right about keeping Bard as a reliever.

The Red Sox should have known Bard was strictly a relief pitcher.  When he was drafted it was clear that he had control issues in his college career at North Carolina.

It was only when Bard was made into a full time relief pitcher, where he could concentrate on repeating his delivery over a max of two innings, that Bard really thrived.  Asking him to go back and be a starter again last season obviously messed with his mechanics and psyche and now he can’t get it back.

I am openly rooting for Daniel Bard to succeed and return to his 2011 form in Boston’s bullpen.  But that bullpen is pitching very well right now and with Hanrahan and Craig Breslow due to return soon, Bard may just be the permanent odd man out.

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  • Michael Macaulay-Birks

    Nice piece Paul…I think it’s safe to say Daniel has a bit more work ahead of him..I for one believe he’ll rebound from this eventually. In my opinion, the difference between “this” version of Bard and the “past ” Bard is the 4+ MPH missing from his fastball…once he gets his velocity back, he’ll once again get batters off balance, and swinging more freely. At 93 MPH, he’s just another right handed pitcher..IMO of course.

  • deckbose

    I don’t understand the slack being offered to Bobby Valentine in the Bard affair. He claims he wanted to keep Bard a reliever but what exactly did he do to effect that end? Nothing. As in every case involving Bobby Valentine, he has attempted to cover his ass by emphasizing how much he opposed a bad decision, but this man was MANAGER of the ball club — not the towel boy in the locker room. What evidence is there that he truly opposed the decision, and, more to the point, why didn’t he ever do anything about it? It was fine in spring training to see what the Bard Experiment might produce, but by the end of April — one month into the season — it was beyond evident that the grand experiment was a failure, and yet the MANAGER of the ballclub, the one man charged with putting players on the field, still did nothing to rectify an idea so ridiculous and abhorrent that Bard, as a consequence of being misused and trashed in 2012, is in Double A baseball today trying to find his talent — the same talent that the Red Sox relied on in 2010 and 2011 to the tune of 143 appearances with a combined ERA of 2.63 and a WHIP of .981.

    Daniel Bard appears to be the only player paying for the sins of 2012. Everyone else has just moved on to other pursuits, while Bard is watching his pro baseball career circle the drain.