Red Sox likely to head north without Daniel Bard

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ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes thinks the Red Sox open the season with right-hander Daniel Bard with Triple-A Pawtucket:

How Farrell plans to deploy his bullpen at the start of the season is coming into sharper focus. First, even though he says the team has yet to make a decision regarding Daniel Bard, all signs point to Bard opening the season in Pawtucket, which puts Clayton Mortensen on the club.

Between ten starts and seven relief appearances in the big leagues last year, Bard finished with a 6.22 ERA with a significantly-reduced ability to miss bats and a ballooning walk rate. He wasn’t much better in the 32 innings with Pawtucket in the middle of 2012 either, as he posted a 7.03 ERA and a 32-to-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio there. Bard’s star has fallen since being a two-time top-100 prospect as ranked by Baseball America going into the 2007 and 2009 seasons.

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.