Daniel Bard nearing return to games

August 26, 2013 - 5:29 am

It has been more than three months since Daniel Bard last pitched in a game. That could change soon. The right-hander, who last pitched on May 15 when he permitted five walks and a hit in one inning for Double-A Portland, has been in Fort Myers rehabbing from an abdominal strain. He began a throwing program earlier this month, and has advanced to work off a mound. The Sox, according to a team source, expect that he will pitch in a game "sooner than later," with the team planning to have him work in games before the end of the minor league season. With the minor league regular season wrapping up next Sunday -- and even sooner in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League (where the regular season concludes on Thursday) -- it would appear that Bard's opportunity to put a different stamp on his 2013 season than the one that characterized his drastic struggles in Portland could be on the very near horizon. The 28-year-old struggled to throw strikes in Portland earlier this year, with a 6.39 ERA in 13 games that included 17 walks and just six strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. But in hindsight, the reliever believes that his struggles stemmed largely from an attempt to pitch through an injury that was more severe than he initially realized. Bard recently told Rob Bradford that he believes he can help the Red Sox in the big leagues this year. "Everything is feeling good and there'€™s just enough time let to give me two or three weeks to get going again, a couple of outings in the minors," Bard said earlier this month. "Hopefully they'€™re still in need of bullpen guys because I feel like I can definitely help. I want to help. '€œI'€™ve obviously been keeping track of the team. It looks like they'€™re having a lot of fun up there. I wouldn'€™t mind being a part of that at the end of the year."