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The sad tale of Daniel Bard, a brilliant young arm in the back of the Boston Red Sox’ bullpen only a couple years ago, has hit a standstill after his last two outings since returning from an injury.
On August 29 in the Gulf Coast League, Bard walked five of the six batters he faced, threw two wild pitches and allowed four steals. The GCL is a place where guys right out of high school play and are just starting to get there feet wet against pro-level players and Bard failed to even made headway against competition he should dominate. It was the second outing for Bard since being out with an injury since May.
The 28-year-old was promoted to the Lowell Spinners and he got a chance to redeem himself on August 31. However, he walked the first two batters on eight pitches and allowed them to advance into scoring position on a wild pitch. He would eventually strike out two batters to end the inning, but he also walked two more batters during the inning. He went an inning and was designated for assignment on Sunday, September 1, according to WEEI’s Alex Speier.
Bard used to be a great piece to the Red Sox’ bullpen. He may have went 2-9 in 2011, but he still had a pretty solid 3.33 ERA. In 2010, he broke out with a 1.93 ERa, including three saves and looked to be the next closer once Jonathan Papelbon’s contract was up.
Unfortunately for Bard, the Red Sox needed him to become a part of the rotation in 2012 and that really did not help his mentality on the mound. He went 5-6 with a 6.22 ERA in 17 games with 10 starts. His last start came against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 3 of that season. He lasted 1 2.3 innings while walking six, hitting one and allowing five earned.
In 2013, he had two appearances in April against the Houston Astros. He totaled one inning of work with one earned runs, two walks and a strikeout.
It seems to me that the Red Sox may have only optioned him to free up a spot on the 40-man roster for John McDonald. But it may be time to cut ties with Bard.
The right-handed pitcher may only be 28, but his mental health is something that has not been up to par since September of 2011. He has fallen off the planet and has not looked comfortable throwing pitches into the strike zone. His wildness may hurt someone and not a single team should try to take this problem on.
Bard may try to come back and make something of himself over the offseason, but it will be a while before he steps on a major-league mound again.