Bard making strides, could be back soon

Bard making strides, could be back soon

NEW YORK -- Daniel Bard, who was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on June 5 following an ill-fated transition to the starting rotation, could at last be close to rejoining the Red Sox.

Bard hit some initial bumps in his return to the bullpen, plagued by some of the same wildness and mechanical difficulties he had while starting.

But of late, he's thrown the ball well for Pawtucket.

"Yeah, I've kept very close tabs on him," said manager Bobby Valentine. "I've seen him a few times on video. I've gotten a report every game. I've communicated with him a little during the process. I think he's getting close. He's throwing the ball better and better and better. And pitching better and better and better and getting better results. That's where we want him to be."

Overall for the PawSox, Bard is 2-0 with a 7.08 ERA, walking 15 batters over 20 1/3 innings, but he hasn't allowed a run in his last three outings.