Cubs claim former Epstein first-round draft pick off waivers

Cubs claim former Epstein first-round draft pick off waivers
September 4, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Tony Andracki

The Cubs continue to stockpile arms as they claimed Daniel Bard off waivers from the Red Sox Wednesday.

Bard is very familiar with Theo Epstein and his front office after they selected the hard-throwing right-hander in the first round (28th overall) of the 2006 MLB Draft.

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Bard, 28, made his major-league debut at age 24 in 2009 and was a very good reliever for the Red Sox for three seasons, sporting a 2.88 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He was exceptionally good in 2010, with a 1.93 ERA and 32 holds while racking up a 3.1 WAR (by baseball reference's metric).

But the 6-foot-4 Texas native, has struggled since then, with a 6.27 ERA nad 1.76 WHIP in 60.1 innings the last two seasons. The Red Sox tried to convert him to a starter and the experiment bombed as he wound up walking almost seven batters per nine innings.

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Bard has spent almost all of the 2013 season in the minors, totaling 27 walks in just 15.1 innings out of the bullpen.

The Cubs designated outfielder Cole Gillespie for assignment to make room for Bard on the 40-man roster. They also designated reliever Michael Bowden for assignment earlier Wednesday to make room for Chang-Yong Lim. Bowden is a Chicagoland native and was taken in the first round (47th overall) of the 2005 MLB Draft in Boston.