Bard will return to majors this season

NEW YORK — Speaking in the dugout before Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees, Sox general manager Ben Cherington offered some new developments on pitchers Daniel Bard and John Lackey.

Bard, who has labored in the Pawtucket bullpen since being optioned June 5, could return to the majors soon, possibly before the rosters expand on Sept. 1.

“He’s going to be back in the big leagues,” Cherington said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be. But its important to get him in this environment again and around people he knows well.

“We’re trying to find the right time to do that and to do it in a way that’s fair to everyone.”

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Bard has a 7.45 ERA in 29 innings with 29 walks, nine hit batters and nine wild pitches with Pawtucket.

“He’s not the first really good pitcher to go through a bad time and he’s going to come back from it,” Cherington said. “Part of that is getting him back in this environment and continuing the work he has started.”

Lackey, meanwhile, impressed manager Bobby Valentine by his latest bullpen session, a 45-pitch outing Sunday. According to Cherington, Lackey, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, will likely pitch in a competitive game before the offseason.

A fall league or the Florida Instructional League seem to be the likely options, given that the minor league seasons will be over by the time Lackey is ready to increase his workload and pitch in a “competitive environment.”

Also:

• The Red Sox got some good news regarding Brian Johnson, the 21-year-old rookie ball lefthander who was struck on the left side of his face by a batted ball during the Futures at Fenway doubleheader on Saturday. Johnson suffered multiple fractures but not a concussion.

“He’s good,” said Cherington, who was waiting to hear if Johnson had been released from the hospital. “There are no concussion signs, no neurological signs or anything like that. But he got hit pretty good. He’s alert and doing well.” It’s uncertain at this point whether Johnson will need any surgery to repair the fractures.

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Johnson was the 31st overall pick in the June draft. The University of Florida player was signed for $1.575 million.

• With Crawford about to have surgery, Daniel Nava is getting close to a return from the disabled list. He was 0 for 1 with two walks for Pawtucket on Sunday in his first rehabilitation game. Nava has been on the disabled list since July 29 with a wrist injury

• Ortiz was tearing into balls during batting practice but did not do any running drills. Ortiz, out since July 17 with a strained right Achilles tendon, hopes to play during the coming homestand.