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BOSTON (CBS) – Theo Epstein and company are hoping they can fix Daniel Bard in Chicago.
The Cubs claimed the reliever on Wednesday, just a few days after he was designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.
Bard, once viewed as one of the best setup men in baseball, made just two appearances in the major leagues this season, allowing a run off a hit and two walks against the Houston Astros back in April.
He was sent to the Gulf Coast League Red Sox where he made two appearances before making his way to Double-A Portland. There, the 28-year-old allowed 11 runs (nine earned) in 12.2 innings off 12 hits and an alarming 17 walks. He was recently sent to Single-A Lowell, where he walked four batters in an inning’s work before being DFA’d by Boston.
In his three minor leaugue stops, Bard walked a total of 27 batters in 15.1 innings.
Bard, who Boston drafted in the first round back in 2006, was as good as they get out of the pen in 2010. That season he posted a 1.93 ERA while striking out 76 in 74.2 innings, setting a club record with 32 holds. He was solid once again in 2011, raising the bar with 34 holds, but wanted to move to the starting rotation for the 2012 season.
That conversion did not go well though, and Bard found himself back in the bullpen — and the minors — after just 10 starts. He finished the season 5-6 with a 6.22 ERA, and unable to find home plate on a consistent basis.
Now, Bard looks for a fresh start in Chicago.
While the Cubs claimed one former Red Sox reliever on Wednesday, they also let one go, releasing Michael Bowden. Boston traded Bowden to the Cubs last April for outfielder Marlon Byrd.