NEW YORK -- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that right-hander Daniel Bard, currently armed with a 7.45 ERA while having walked 29 and struck out 30 in 29 innings in Triple-A Pawtucket, definitely will return to the big leagues to pitch this year. While Cherington did not give a timetable to the pitcher's return, he said unequivocally that the right-hander is best served moving forward by a return to the majors, regardless of his performance in Triple-A.
"He’s going to be back in the big leagues before the year is over, I don’t know when it’s going to be. It’s important to get him back here in this environment again and being around people he knows well, so we’re trying to find the right time to do that that’s fair to everyone," Cherington said. "He’s not the first really good pitcher to go through a down time. He’s going to come back from it. We’re going to help him come back from it, and part of that is getting him back to this environment so he can continue to do the work he’s started and do it around guys he knows well."
The recent results for the 26-year-old have not been particularly encouraging. In his last six appearances spanning 5 2/3 innings, Bard has walked 12 batters and given up eight earned runs. Nonetheless, Cherington said that even if the pitcher keeps struggling he will return to the big leagues, where he was 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) this year.
"I think it’s important to get him regardless, assuming he’s healthy," Cherington said.
Cherington said that there have not been any discussions to this point about whether Bard might go to spring training next year as a starter or reliever.
"We haven’t talked about that. Right now just focused on getting him going on right track. He knows exactly what he needs to do and he’s working on it every day, and there are days where he’s a click away, and maybe he is. He’s got enough talent," Cherington said. "The role is something we can talk about in the offseason."
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