ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Daniel Bard was part of the Red Sox’ starting rotation at this time a year ago. He was 3-4 with a 4.30 earned run average, showing just enough to continue getting chances.
Now the Red Sox are wrestling with whether it’s a good idea to have Bard continue pitching for Double A Portland given his mounting control problems.
Bard walked five of the nine batters he faced Wednesday night and threw two wild pitches. Only eight of his 30 pitches were strikes.
The Red Sox called Bard up April 24, saying at the time he had a chance to remain in their bullpen. He pitched in two games and was demoted back to Portland April 28.
The 27-year-old righthander has struggled mightily since. In five appearances, Bard has pitched 3⅔ innings and allowed five earned runs on five hits and 13 walks. He has struck out only two. Of Bard’s last 109 pitches, 37 have been strikes.
Counting his brief stint in the majors, Bard has walked 19 and thrown eight wild pitches in 13⅔ innings this season.
In all games, majors and minors, since the start of the 2012 season, Bard has walked 91, hit 18 batters, and thrown 18 wild pitches over 105 innings.
“I’m not letting this beat me up too much,” Bard told the Portland Press Herald Thursday. “It hasn’t looked good; I’m not immune to that. But it’s a process.”
The Red Sox, manager John Farrell said, are not yet ready to send Bard to extended spring training.
“It’s more about continuing to address the needs of Daniel and trying to provide him that help as best we can,” Farrell said. “We haven’t got to the point of any drastic measures.”
The issue is not a physical one, Farrell reiterated.
“It comes from repeating a delivery and what allows that to happen. That’s being in a good place mentally and confident you’re going to execute a pitch in a given situation. That’s been elusive for him right now,” Farrell said.
The Red Sox have had their in-house sports psychologist, Bob Tewksbury, working with Bard. They also believe Bard responds well to Portland pitching coach Bob Kipper.
Farrell said Kipper has been “very direct, very pointed” with Bard.
“We’ve got to get to the point of Daniel being very candid and honest with himself and not be maybe deflecting some of the things he might be feeling,” Farrell said. “Just be as bluntly honest as you can because this is something you can’t run from. You’ve got to meet it head-on.”
Bard, at least based on his comments, is remaining positive.
“The last week’s been tough, but the [pregame] work has been good. I need to figure out what I need to do to carry that work into the game,” Bard said. “I’m confident it will happen. It’s just a matter of time. I’m healthy. Everything feels good. It’s a matter of when, not if.”
For now, Farrell said the Red Sox will keep Bard in Portland.
“I wish I had better answer for you right now,” Farrell said. “But I don’t.”
Bailey back soon
Andrew Bailey is scheduled to pitch an inning for Triple A Pawtucket on Saturday at McCoy Stadium after throwing 15 pitches in a simulated game Thursday.
Facing teammates Mike Carp and Ryan Lavarnway, Bailey got three fly balls.
“I felt good. Was throwing all my pitches,” Bailey said. “My arm feels good.”
If Bailey gets through his brief rehabilitation assignment without issues, he would be activated on Monday in Chicago.
Farrell said Bailey would return to closing once he returns. Bailey has not pitched since April 28 because of a strained biceps.
Bailey would have preferred to be activated right away. But he understood the team wanting him to pitch a game in the minors.
“We kind of discussed that. What we talked about is that I missed enough time to warrant just at least one inning. Kind of getting sharp. But everything feels great. It’s just kind of getting back baseball-wise,” Bailey said.
Bailey was pitching well before his injury. In 13 appearances, he allowed two earned runs on six hits over 12⅓ innings, with four walks and 20 strikeouts.
The injury, Bailey said, is no longer an issue. Farrell said he has spoken to Bailey at length about making sure he keeps the team informed about his physical condition after each outing.
It was the worst-case scenario for righthander Joel Hanrahan, who went in for surgery by Dr. James Andrews Thursday.
In addition to flexor tendon surgery, Hanrahan required Tommy John reconstruction surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He also had bone spurs removed, according to one his agents, Mike Dillon.
Hanrahan is expected to miss 12-15 months. The 31-year-old will be a free agent after the season.
Hanrahan, who was obtained from Pittsburgh in December, appeared in only nine games for the Red Sox.
Former Boston College and Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie was at the game, wearing a Sox jersey . . . There was a heartwarming moment before the game. The Rays had 9-year-old Alayna Adams of Dunedin throw out the first pitch with her mother, Dana, also on the mound. The catcher proved to be Army Lieutenant Colonel William Adams, home after a one-year deployment to Afghanistan. William Adams had on a Rays uniform with full catcher’s gear and surprised his family. His wife and daughter ran to the plate to hug him. The crowd then gave the family a standing ovation.