Cubs claim Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard
BY DAN McGRATH For Sun-Times Media September 4, 2013 5:12PM
Chicago White Sox Vs Boston Red Sox. Boston Red Sox pitcher No.51 Daniel Bard reacts as White Sox No.14 A.J. Konerko rounds 3rd base after his solo homerun. April 27, 2012 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: September 4, 2013 8:55PM
The Cubs’ front office has reached into its Boston past for an intriguing reclamation project.
Before Wednesday’s 9-7 victory over the Florida Marlins, the Cubs claimed pitcher Daniel Bard off waivers from the Red Sox. Bard, a 28-year-old right-hander, was a lights-out set-up man for Jonathan Papplebon from 2009-2011, compiling a 2.88 ERA with 215 strikeouts in 197 innings. Opposing batters hit just .190 against him.
But an attempt to make him a starter before the 2012 season failed. Bard struggled with his mechanics and his control, going 5-6 with a 6.22 ERA in 17 appearances last year, including 10 starts. He has spent much of the last two seasons in the minors, walking 56 batters in 47 innings.
Bard was the Red Sox’s first-round draft pick out of the University of North Carolina in 2005, and the Cubs feel he’s worth a look as they seek to add pitching throughout the organization.
“A big, power arm,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Theo (Epstein) obviously has a lot of confidence in him.”
The Cubs also called up pitcher Chang-Yong Lim from Triple-A Iowa. Lim, a 37-year-old right-hander, is a 17-year veteran of pro ball in Korea and Japan. Recovering from Tommy John surgery, he has pitched at four levels of the Cubs’ farm system this season, compiling a 1.61 ERA in 22.1 innings.
The Cubs designated pitcher Michael Bowden (1-3, 4.20) and outfielder Cole Gillespie (.203, 0, 4) for assignment to make room for Bard and Lim on the 40-man roster.
Wednesday’s announced, season-low home crowd of 20,696 saw Jeff Samardzija endure another rough outing---six runs in six innings, including an inexplicable grand slam by light-hitting shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and and a two-run, Sheffield Ave. shot by Logan Morrison.
But after two games of slumber, Cubs hitters spared Samardzija a 12th loss by slugging four home runs, the most meaningful Donnie Murphy’s two-run drive to left-center that erased Miami’s 7-6 lead in the seventh inning.
With nine homers and a .612 slugging percentage in just 98 at-bats, Murphy, 30, continues to push for a roster spot going forward.
“I can’t explain it,” he said. “I’m just having fun out there getting a chance to compete. Ryan Webb is a sinker-ball pitcher, so I was looking for a sinker, I got it and I put a good swing on it.”
A scary moment occurred in the sixth inning when Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton lost his grip swinging at Samardzija’s 1-1 pitch and the bat sailed into the stands, striking a small child near the Cubs’ dugout. Samardzija promptly allowed two singles, a walk and Hechavarria’s slam, but he insisted he wasn’t rattled by the incident.
“No, not at all,” he said. “It was scary, weird, but one of those things that happen. Tough little kid. That bat got him right in the face and he was back in his seat before the game was over. He’ll have a story to tell.”