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.