BOSTON — The Red Sox designated once prominent reliever Daniel Bard for assignment on Sunday due to the need for a spot on their 40-man roster.
The 26-year old Bard, a key part of the back end of Boston’s bullpen from 2009-11, has battled control problems the last two seasons.
Bard pitched early in the season for the Portland Sea Dogs this year, pitching 12 2/3 innings in 13 games. He had a 6.39 ERA and allowed 13 hits and 17 walks.
The Red Sox recalled recently acquired Quintin Berry as part of their September call-ups Sunday. Berry was picked up in a minor-league trade with Kansas City last week.
Bard has bounced around the minors this season, struggling with his control for most of his outings.
In his recent outing for Single-A Lowell on Saturday night, Bard walked four and had a wild pitch, but a pickoff at third prevent him from giving up a run.
“We felt like performance was going to lead to confidence,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said. “But I thought in spring training there were some outings that were not far off to where he was previous, whether it was a year or two prior, and I felt like as he was building a little momentum, felt like there was still one step yet left to make with him, in terms of just the power and the consistency to it. It looked like he was on his way. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”
Bard’s desire to start was fulfilled last season by GM Ben Cherington and then-manager Bobby Valentine, but it turned out to be a tough run for the right-hander. He was 5-6 with a 6.22 ERA in 17 games, 10 starts, and spent a large amount of the second half of the season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
When he came up in 2009, Bard had a high-90’s fastball and a sharp curve, making him one of the game’s more effective set-up men. But his control became an issue last season.
“To have that kind of power and that kind of ease in which he threw, and the breaking ball he had in addition to the 98 to 101, or whatever it was (fastball), yeah, he was as good as there was in the game,” Farrell said.
If he clears waivers, Bard could go back to the minors because he has an option left.
In other moves, Boston called up catcher Ryan Lavarnway and right-handed pitcher Rubby De La Rosa from Triple-A. Utility infielder John McDonald, acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies for a minor league pitcher on Saturday, was added to the 40-man roster and infielder Brandon Snyder was activated from the 15-day disabled list.