The Red Sox probably weren't too concerned when Jonathan Papelbon decided to ship out of Boston and sign with the Philadelphia Phillies this offseason. The Sox, of course, had Papelbon's replacement in mind with Daniel Bard.
However, that thought process changed when Bard expressed a desire to leave the bullpen in order to become a starter.
The rest, as they say, is history — some real ugly history.
The fireballing right-hander, who had made a nice home for himself as the club's setup man, fell on his face as a starter. He went 4-6 as a starter in 10 starts with a 5.30 ERA. Bard allowed 52 hits in 54 1/3 innings and he also walked 36 while hitting eight batsmen.
Things got so bad, in fact, that Bard was demoted from the big league club, sent to Triple-A to find himself. In the process, the righty made the transition back to the bullpen. The familiar role mixed with lesser hitting didn't result in the success that all parties involved had expected. Bard battled control issues again, walking 29 and hitting 10 in just 32 innings of work.
However, he's been recalled to the big leagues, and he's back, this time, as a reliever. Bard and the Red Sox will be hoping that he can put something positive together and end the season on a good note.
It would appear, though, that the debate surrounding what he'll be in the future is still far from over.
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