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Darnell McDonald Activated, Daniel Bard Optioned To Pawtucket

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Not only is Dustin Pedroia back in the lineup for the Red Sox tonight, but Darnell McDonald's rehab assignment for his oblique injury is now over, as he's been activated and returned to Boston's 25-man roster. In order to make room for the bench outfielder (who, despite that role, will likely see playing time given the multitude of injuries), the Red Sox optioned the struggling Daniel Bard to Pawtucket.

Bard lasted just 1-2/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Sunday, walking six and striking out just two while allowing five runs on 55 pitches. While his April went well enough -- Bard struck out 19 while walking 10 in 19-1/3 innings, posting a 3.72 ERA in the process -- he came undone in May, with inconsistent mechanics and results leading to the 5.24 ERA and sub-1.0 K/BB he currently owns.

A lower arm slot made it seem as if Bard had maybe solved some of the issue, but it's clear after Sunday that he has more to work on than just that if he's to be a successful major-league starter. The experiment moves to Triple-A, and while there's no word yet on who the Red Sox will use in his place this Saturday, chances are good it will be one of Aaron Cook or Daisuke Matsuzaka, whichever is ready to come off of the disabled list first. While either of those players will require a subsequent 25-man move to do so, Boston does have players remaining (Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik) who could be designated to make room.

If neither of those two are ready, Boston only needs one fifth starter from now until June 24, thanks to the schedule. This means that some combination of Scott Atchison and, say, Clayton Mortensen could handle long-relief duties from the start of a game in order to keep Boston from shuffling their rotation in Bard's absence.