The Red Sox announced after their 13-0, rain-shortened loss on Tuesday that they were optioning right-hander Steven Wright – after his 3 2/3 inning relief effort — back to Triple-A Pawtucket. While the team said that a corresponding roster move would be announced on Wednesday, Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press-Herald reported (via twitter) that Daniel Bard has been informed that he’ll be heading to Boston.
— Kevin Thomas (@ClearTheBases) April 24, 2013
After struggling in his first few outings of the season, Bard went five straight outings (six innings) without allowing an earned run while striking out three, walking three and allowing five hits. By no means has he been dominant to this point in the minor league season. However, he’s been working in the strike zone (64 percent of pitches for strikes this year) and he’s gotten some swings and misses with his slider; his fastball has typically been around 94-95 mph.
Bard’s recall more likely reflects on the Sox’ need for temporary bullpen depth and his status on the 40-man roster than on the reliever’s performance in Portland. With Wright unavailable after his long relief outing and Allen Webster also not a consideration since he can’t be recalled (barring a DL move) until at least May 2 after being optioned on Sunday, the only other pitchers on the 40-man roster for a potential call-up were Rubby De La Rosa (who is being stretched out as a starter in deliberate fashion, and who is struggling in Triple-A) and Drake Britton (who a) has never relieved and b) started in Double-A on Sunday). So, Bard emerged as the only real option to offer greater depth to the Red Sox bullpen in the short-term.
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