Daniel Bard Has Awful Outing in Gulf Coast League, Still Very Much a ‘Work in Progress’

Daniel BardCalling Daniel Bard a work in progress right now might be an understatement.

Bard said recently that he was hopeful that he could contribute to the Red Sox in 2013. While that’s nice and would make for a feel-good story, Bard failed to take another step forward Thursday. In fact, he jumped backwards.

Bard pitched two thirds of an inning in a Gulf Coast League game in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Thursday, and he was horrendous. The right-hander walked five of the six batters he faced, allowed four stolen bases and unleashed two wild pitches while surrendering two runs. Of the two outs that Bard recorded, one came via a caught stealing and the other was a flyout.

Thursday’s outing was Bard’s second Rookie ball appearance of the week. On Monday, he worked around a walk, a hit and an error to toss a scoreless frame in his first game action since May 15. Clearly, there’s still work to be done, which is something that Red Sox manager John Farrell seems well aware of.

“Velocity isn’t where he was when he was here for a brief time during spring training, and the fact that he’s on the mound is one step. The power that needs to come from just being inactive and the consistency to execution, that’s still a work in progress right now,” Farrell said. “For the majority of the time that he was down, it was kind of open-ended. One, we didn’t know when he’d get back to throwing bullpens. Two, we didn’t know when he’d get back in games. And then, from this point forward, how much time remains or opportunities exist to gain some consistency, to gain some confidence more than anything, and did he become another option for us? And right now, that’s still in question.”

It seems very unlikely that Bard will make it back to the majors in 2013 despite his highest of hopes. As Farrell alluded to, there’s simply too much for him to overcome in too short a time. Plus, the Red Sox would have to determine if he’d really be a necessary gamble given the other relievers available for a September call-up.

Bard remains on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster. Just don’t expect him to hop into Boston’s pennant race.

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