Daniel Bard was back in the Red Sox’s clubhouse yesterday and will officially be recalled before today’s game, returning to the majors following a three-month demotion to Triple-A.
Bard was dumped from Boston’s rotation and sent to the minors in early June, taking with him a 5.24 ERA and more walks (37) than strikeouts (34) in 55 innings.
He was every bit as awful at Triple-A with a 7.03 ERA and 32/29 K/BB ratio in 32 innings, making 30 of his 31 appearances as a reliever. He also plunked 10 batters and uncorked nine wild pitches. In other words, he was a mess.
And yet now he’s back in the majors, although it’s hard to imagine manager Bobby Valentine relying on him for anything more than a mop-up bullpen role.
The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.
Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.
Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.
Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.