Bard up, Wright down
The Boston Red Sox optioned knuckleballer Steven Wright (no relation) to Triple-A Pawtuckett following his rough big-league debut Tuesday night, and have recalled right-hander Daniel Bard to take his place in the bullpen, reports Alex Speier of WEEI.
Wright, 28, relieved an abysmal Alfredo Aceves last night and had a pretty bad 3⅔ innings himself, giving up five runs on six hits. The situation seemed a bit unfair for the right-hander, though, as a knuckleball is hard enough to control on a nice day. I can't imagine having to throw it in the pouring rain.
Bard has been a shell of his former self since last year's disastrous rotation experiment, but the Sox apparently feel he's ready for bullpen duty again. The right-hander's thrown nine innings at Double-A this year, in which he's walked four and struck out four.
Lackey to return Sunday?
John Lackey could be back on Boston's roster as early as Sunday, reports Victor Barbosa of WEEI. The right-hander tossed 3⅔ shutout innings for Double-A Portland on Monday, striking out five, and is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Thursday.
If the throwing session goes well, which the club fully expects, then Lackey could be on the hill for Sunday's series finale against the Astros at Fenway. Given how badly Alfredo Aceves handled last night's spot start, Lackey seems a shoo-in to take the mound if he's able to get the ball over the plate on the fly.