At the beginning of June, the pitcher suddenly developed an inability to throw pitches for strikes. When he plunked two batters in Toronto and walked six, the Red Sox were forced to option Bard down to Pawtucket.
While he battled inconsistency during his minor league stint, Bard is nearing the form of his former self, tossing two straight scoreless outings. That marks four straight appearances in which he's thrown more strikes than balls.
As a result of the progress, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine ?? who has maintained contact with Bard during the past two months ?? believes he could be inching closer to a return to the Red Sox.
"I kept very close tabs on him," Valentine said. "I?ve seen him a few times on video. I?ve gotten a report every game. I think he?s getting close. He?s throwing the ball better and better and better, and pitching better and better and better and getting better results. That?s where we want him to be."
In 19 outings for Pawtucket, Bard has posted a 2-0 record with a 7.08 ERA with 21 strikeouts and 15 walks.