Daniel Bard Relieving, Not Starting, For Pawtucket Tonight

Toronto, ON, Canada; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Daniel Bard (left) makes his way from the bullpen to the dugout with pitching coach Bob McClure (22) before playing against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

According to Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com, Red Sox starting pitcher Daniel Bard will pitch in Monday's contest in relief, while Billy Buckner will start. Bard, who was optioned to Pawtucket to work on his mechanics, is in the midst of a conversion to starting pitching from the bullpen, where he's pitched in the majors since 2009, and the minors 2007.

There is no word as of yet on whether this is an actual move -- as in, Bard is relieving, now and forever -- or if, as sometimes happens in the minors, Bard is going to relieve for multiple innings with a starter's workload, but just not be the starting pitcher. The fact he pitched on Friday for an inning, in which he faced seven batters, hitting two and striking out another pair, might be another reason, as it's been just two days since his last appearance, and a relatively shorter outing than a regular start might be in order.

In short, if you're rooting for Bard to start, this isn't necessarily a nail in that project's coffin. Conversely, if you're hoping the Red Sox put him back in the pen, we don't know if this is a precursor to that move, either, so hold off on the celebrations until there's an official announcement, assuming the situation even merits one.

[UPDATE 4:16 pm]: Brian MacPherson has the info on just why he's pitching out of the pen, and it isn't a role change. The idea is to "replicate what he felt like coming out of the bullpen," and if he's just going to pitch the one inning while he works on his mechanics, Bard's preference is for it to be out of the pen.

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