BOSTON -- Right-hander Daniel Bard, who tried to transition to the starting rotation in Spring Training and the first couple of months of the regular season, told reporters in Pawtucket, R.I., on Friday that he will return to the bullpen once he returns to the big leagues.
After going 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA, Bard was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on June 5.
All of his stints at Pawtucket have been short ones, leading to speculation he could be headed back to the bullpen. Bard confirmed that Friday.
"The feeling of everyone I've talked to, and the way I feel myself, is that I can be a good starter," Bard said. "I know I can be a good starter, but I know I'm already a great reliever. Maybe that's what I was meant to do, so just try and embrace it from here on out."
The decision was essentially a mutual one, although Bard and the team came to it independently.
"We essentially reached the conclusions independently and came together and talked about it," said general manager Ben Cherington. "We reached the same conclusion. The primary factors were that for 2012 we need as many guys to impact the big league team as we can. We felt as we get toward the end of June the best chance to do that would be in the bullpen for this year."
Bard is looking forward to returning to the role he excelled in for three seasons.
"I've never seen him up close and personal, but he's had some great success being a reliever and that's where feels like he'll be able to get back here the quickest and help us win," said manager Bobby Valentine.
There's no timetable on when Bard will be recalled by the Red Sox. In five games for Pawtucket, he has a 7.36 ERA.
"He's made progress," Cherington said. "He's in a more consistent position with his delivery, more consistent arm slot, better finish with his fastball. He's throwing the fastball through the catcher with a four-seam finish, and the breaking ball has been more consistent, with typically his breaking ball playing off his fastball. Not every outing has been perfect, but he's going in the right direction and those are the things he continues to get locked in on. He's trending in a good direction."