The saga of Daniel Bard continues. The right-handed reliever was optioned back to Double-A Portland after Sunday afternoon's victory over the Houston Astros, the team announced.
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Bard, 27, was called up last Wednesday to help out in the bullpen during the club's four-game set against Houston. The right-hander tossed a scoreless inning in his season debut on Thursday night but failed to record an out and threw just one strike in nine pitches during his second outing on Saturday.
Given his mediocre numbers to start the year, Bard's spot in the bullpen was probably meant to be temporary anyway, but his appearance Saturday probably didn't help his chances of rejoining the 'pen anytime soon.
Bard has had serious control problems since last season's failed rotation experiment, and doesn't seem to show any signs of improving on that front. The right-hander pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in his first three seasons with the Sox, posting a 2.88 ERA, 3.5 BB/9, and 9.7 K/9 in 197 innings. In the last season-plus, however, Bard owns a 6.27 ERA, 6.7 BB/9, and 5.7 K/9 in 60⅓ innings.
Boston has to hope that Bard can rediscover some semblance of his former self down in Portland. Whether he's able to rebound or not, don't expect the Red Sox to push a reliever into a full-time starting role again anytime soon.
No corresponding roster move has been announced as of yet, but given that relievers Joel Hanrahan and Craig Breslow are well on their way in their minor-league rehab assignments, it can probably be assumed that one of them will be activated from the DL.