The Red Sox sent starting pitcher Daniel Bard to Triple-A on Wednesday, this according to the Boston Globe. The once-great reliever was 5-6, with a 5.24 ERA. It was becoming obvious that Bard’s struggles were becoming more mental than physical. In his last outing on Sunday, Bard walked six and hit two in a loss to the Blue Jays. Bard discussed his struggles,
““I allowed something to happen when I switched roles,’’ he said. “I think it’s just maybe that we just tried to turn me into a starter rather than just take the same pitcher I was out of the pen and move that guy to the rotation, which is probably what should have been done.
“It’s partially my fault – it’s all my fault. Maybe it’s a matter of getting back to what I had success doing in the past.’’
A trip to the minors gives Bard a chance to get his head together, and figure out how to mentally attack each outing. The Red Sox may not need Bard to return as a starter, with other options on the rise. Aaron Cook is making a spot start for the Red Sox on Saturday, and manager Bobby Valentine should get a good look at him then. Daisuke Matsuzaka, just passing time in Pawtucket, will likely see Bard for a few days before he is eventually called up sometime next week. (I won’t jump to the conclusion that Mark Prior is an option…yet)
Darnell McDonald has replaced Bard on the roster. In other notes: Scott Podsednik is the starting centerfielder, batting leadoff for the Red Sox. He’s 3-12 lifetime off Orioles starter Jason Hammel. Six players have led off games for Boston this year. Dustin Pedroia returns to action tonight, avoiding the DL. As usual, Pedroia is a nurses nightmare, and tends to do anything he can to stay on the field, despite all medical advice. Keep an eye on Pedroia, and the possibility of re-injuring that thumb.