Not much went right during Daniel Bard’s first season. This season, however, hasn’t resembled anything like his 2007 campaign, and the Red Sox have rewarded Bard by promoting the 22-year-old righthander from low Class A Greenville to Double-A Portland.
Bard, who the Red Sox picked 28th overall in 2006 and signed for an above-slot $1.55 million bonus, opened 2007 with high Class A Lancaster. The results were ugly for Bard, who was demoted to Greenville after allowing 23 runs (15 earned) in 13 1/3 innings with 22 walks and nine strikeouts. At Greenville, Bard’s struggles continued as he racked up a 6.42 ERA in 61 2/3 innings with 56 walks and 38 strikeouts.
Bard worked out of the bullpen in October and November in Hawaii Winter Baseball, where he had a 1.08 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings, but the control problems continued for Bard, who walked 15 batters.
The Red Sox converted Bard into a full-time reliever in 2008 and, although he was still old for his level, the results have been dramatically better. In 28 innings, Bard allowed just 12 hits and had a 0.64 ERA. Bard faced 100 batters, struck out 43 of them and walked just four.
By skipping Bard over high Class A Lancaster, the Red Sox will avoid having Bard pitch in an extreme hitter’s park while also giving him the opportunity to pitch against more age-appropriate competition.