When the Red Sox optioned righthanded reliever Daniel Bard down to Double A Portland on March 28, it looked like a sign that he would be in the minors for at least several months working to regain his form after a disastrous 2012 season.
But Bard will return to the major leagues on Wednesday after only eight appearances with the Sea Dogs. He was informed on Tuesday night after the Sox optioned Steven Wright to Pawtucket.
Bard was 0-1 with a 4.00 earned run average in Portland. But his last five outings have been better. Over six innings, Bard has allowed one unearned run on five hits and three walks. He has struck out three.
Scouts have said his fastball command is better and that Bard is pitching much more like the relief ace he was before he was made into a starter last season. That led to a loss of velocity, command and eventually a return to the minors.
Portland pitching coach Bob Kipper, who was a good influence on Bard earlier in his career, helped him again.
“Just been simplifying everything,” Bard told the Portland Press Herald after being told of his promotion. “I think I’ve made some good strides through spring training and this was a chance to build on what we did. ”
“There was no better guy to do it with than Kip. He’s got a simple message. He preaches a simple delivery and a simply approach. It’s what I’ve been successful with in the past and it’s what I got locked into here the last few weeks.”
Bard pitched a scoreless inning for Portland on Tuesday against Binghamton, throwing eight of his 10 pitches for strikes.