Daniel Bard sent to Double-A, Stephen Drew to DL as decision on Jackie Bradley still awaits

Rob Bradford
March 28, 2013 - 12:39 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. '€“ The Red Sox made a handful of roster moves Thursday '€“ most notably, optioning right-hander Daniel Bard to Double-A Portland while also sending both first baseman Mauro Gomez and utility infielder Brock Holt to Triple-A Pawtucket. Meanwhile, the Sox said there was no decision yet on the status of Jackie Bradley Jr. Meanwhile, shortstop Stephen Drew was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list, retroactive to March 27. Red Sox manager John Farrell said prior to his team'€™s game against the Twins at JetBlue Park that the decisions regarding the final roster spots have yet to be made. '€œWe'€™re down to basically two slots,'€ he said. '€œWe'€™ve got a couple of pending situations. Internally we'€™re getting closer to that.'€ The final decisions are coming down to which two of a group of three hitters (Jackie Bradley, Ryan Sweeney, Mike Carp) the Red Sox will keep; the Bard decision seemingly would pave the way for Clayton Mortensen to be on the Opening Day roster. As for the position players, part of the equation is muddled because Thursday represents the day Sweeney can opt-out of his minor-league contract if not guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster. The Red Sox have until midnight to divulge their attentions to Sweeney. Outfielder Mitch Maier also has an opt-out, but due to his wrist injury is expected to remain with the organization. The Sox had whittled down their lost bullpen spot to a decision between Bard and Mortensen. Mortensen is out of options, and so would have to clear waivers if the Sox hoped to keep him in their minor league system; Bard, meanwhile, still has two options remaining. Moreover, even though the Sox saw considerable progress forward in Bard this spring from his disastrous 2012 campaign, he demonstrated some inconsistency on an outing-to-outing and pitch-to-pitch basis. In Double-A, he will be reunited with pitching coach Bob Kipper, who worked with Bard both in 2007 in High-A Lancaster (when he struggled) and in 2008 in Single-A Greenville (where he emerged as a dominant reliever). (Kipper talked about the comparisons between Bard in 2007/08 and 2012/13 in this story.) Farrell did talk at length about Bradley'€™s situation, which has the 22-year-old on the verge of making the major league roster less than two years after being drafted. '€œYou always want to get the best feel you can for the makeup of the individual, looking at all sides,'€ Farrell said. '€œSo in the event of something that doesn't turn out well, or as he's challenged, how does he respond to those, that's a projection. Until you get to that point you don't fully know how strong mentally is. He if struggles occur at the major league level in that spotlight what would his response be. And then at the same time you look at the spring training he had, the talent that he is and you try to put together the best team with the best players that you can. '€œWe've allowed him to go this deep into camp so we're not afraid and not unwilling to break with him. If that was the case we would have sent him out four weeks ago. But all those things are considered.'€ When asked how much the player'€™s service time clock is factored in (Bradley'€™s free agency eligibility jumps from after 2019 to after '€™18 if he is called up prior to April 12 and fails to spend 20 days in the minors at some point over the course of one of the subsequent six years), Farrell articulated that it is a factor. '€œI think it'€™s balancing the two,'€ he said. '€œWe can'€™t control tomorrow, let alone six years from now.'€ Farrell did say that the impression left by Bradley hasn'€™t been totally out of nowhere. '€œSimilar to what we've seen,'€ said the manager when asked what his scouting report was of Bradley prior to spring training. '€œA mature guy. Has always been in the center of the team which he played for, whether it's in college or in the one-plus years of the minor leagues since he's been here. From a scouting evaluation, it's been accurate. A guy who is a well-above average defender right now. A complete understanding of the strike zone. Doesn't play in any kind of panic mode. Everything we've thrown at him this spring has held true to form.'€