Daniel Bard was hoping that a strong performance in the Puerto Rico Winter League might help him get things back on track after a disastrous 2013 campaign, but thus far it seems that his control issues continue to plague him on the mound. Bard’s team in Puerto Rico, Criollos de Caguas, might actually consider releasing him rather than finishing out the Winter League season with him on their active roster because he’s been so erratic, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
Bard, a 28 year old right-hander, has made just three appearances on the season and has retired just one of the thirteen batters he’s faced. He’s walked nine, thrown four wild pitches, and allowed eight earned runs and hasn’t pitched in more than a week.
A 1st Round pick in the 2006 Draft (#28 overall) out of the University of North Carolina, Bard was once considered among the top up-and-coming arms in the Boston Red Sox minor league system. Once he reached the Major Leagues during the 2009 season he quickly earned himself a place in the Boston bullpen, developing into one of the best setup men in baseball by the end of the 2010 season. Things started to go downhill that next season, however. He’d start to lose velocity by August and then his confidence soon followed when the team tried to convert him back into a starter (he’d been a starter in college and through his first year in the minor leagues) the following Spring Training.
Bard spent the bulk of 2013 in the minor leagues, never pitching above Double-A. He’d throw just 15.1 IP on the year, walking 27 (15.8 BB/9) and throwing 11 wild pitches. The Chicago Cubs claimed him off of waivers in September, knowing that they have a little more flexibility to be patient with Bard than the Sox do at this point.