Bard gives up game-tying HR for PawSox

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- On the day Daniel Bard officially announced he has returned to the bullpen and will become a reliever once again, he struggled in his one-inning outing for the Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium.

The right-hander allowed two hits, including a solo home run, hit a batter and struck out two. He tossed 21 pitches (12 strikes). When he entered Friday's game in the top of the seventh inning, the PawSox had a 3-2 lead, but the Louisville Bats tied the game on Miguel Rojas' homer.

"I went into today trying to throw every pitch with conviction and I pretty much did that," Bard said.

"I couldn't throw the breaking balls to lefties, but it'll come. I threw it well to some of the righties. The home run, just fell behind the guy and he cheated to the fastball."

The PawSox ended up losing 4-3 in 13 innings.

Earlier in the day Bard admitted he recently called Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and the two decided it would be best for the organization if he were converted back to a reliever.

After posting a 5-6 record with a 5.24 ERA in 10 starts and one relief appearance for the Red Sox this season, he was optioned to Pawtucket on June 7. This entire season has been a challenge for Bard.

"That's baseball. It's a humbling game," Bard said. "It's been good for me in a way, personally, to realize that this can be taken away at any time. Fortunately for me, it wasn't. It's not with an injury. It's just with some struggles on the field. It's been good for me. We have an awesome group of guys down here. Sometimes I think Triple-A can be a lot of bitter personalities, where they all think they should be in the big leagues. This team, everyone's trying to get there, but it's a great group of guys. Everyone's happy to be here. It's a good group to be around."