Daniel Bard has been out since mid-May recovering from an abdominal strain, but, according to Alex Speier, should return to the mound "sooner than later" in 2013, getting in appearances before the minor-league season ends next Sunday.
Bard struggled both at Double-A Portland and in a brief stint with the Red Sox this season, showing little ability to throw strikes -- he walked 17 batters in 12 innings, with just six strikeouts. Speier notes, though, that Bard feels he tried to push through an injury that didn't seem quite so serious at the time, and it helped ruin what should have been Bard attempting to work his way back to normalcy. Given he's been out for three months and change now recovering from that abdominal strain, it's pretty obvious it was an issue -- whether it's the primary reason for his inability to record outs or avoid walks remains to be seen.
As he's on the 40-man roster, Bard could, at least in theory, find himself called up to the majors when rosters expand on September 1. It's highly doubtful, though, that he would pitch in anything resembling a semi-important moment, at least not until he showed something worth that kind of faith.
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