BOSTON -- Daniel Bard rejoined the Red Sox on Wednesday not just to fill a roster spot, but with the opportunity to regain a job in a bullpen that he used to be a force in.
Bard will probably be able to dictate the length of his stay by the way he pitches.
Asked if Bard could regain permanent residence in Boston's bullpen, manager John Farrell said, "He's here to do just that -- to perform and be a regular in our bullpen."
After spending the early part of the season at Double-A Portland with a pitching coach he has known for years in Bob Kipper, Bard feels he's ready to get Major League hitters out on a consistent basis again.
"It's good to be here," said Bard. "It's been an interesting road, but I think going to Portland for a little while was probably the best thing. It was a good group of guys. I couldn't ask for more out of the coaching staff there. They were awesome. It's always nice to see this place."
After the lost season of 2012, the Red Sox did see some good things out of Bard in Spring Training. He was sent to Double-A so he could refine his mechanics and regain the consistency of his delivery. In eight games with the Sea Dogs, Bard was 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA, allowed eights, four walks and notched four strikeouts.
Did it work?
"I think so," Bard said. "My delivery feels simple right now. It feels easy to repeat. Kip was a great guy to work with. He kind of pounds things into your head, almost to where it gets annoying, but it's good. I think everyone agrees that's played for him -- it sticks. He genuinely cares. I couldn't ask for a better guy to work with."
For the latter part of 2009 and the following two seasons, Bard owned the eighth inning for the Red Sox.
The club currently has depth in that area now with Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Andrew Bailey, so Bard will be more of a middle man for now.
"Probably in early relief situations," said Farrell. "We feel like with Taz, Koji and Andrew, that's the back end of our bullpen right now. Right now, I think it's a matter of him getting back, acclimated to this level and building some confidence along the way."
After rough start, Aceves sent to Triple-A
BOSTON -- The body of work is now large enough that the Red Sox can't justify saving a roster spot for Alfredo Aceves just because of his versatility.
Following Wednesday's 6-5 win over the Oakland Athletics -- and less than 24 hours after Aceves completely imploded in a start against that same team -- Aceves was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
The Red Sox called up catcher Ryan Lavarnway from Pawtucket on Thursday, but that move likely will only be temporary, as the Red Sox are expected to activate John Lackey on Sunday.
The slumping Aceves might have hit rock bottom on Tuesday night against Oakland, giving up seven hits, eight runs, four walks and two balks over just 3 1/3 innings. Aceves threw 80 pitches.
After starting the season in the bullpen, the right-hander made three starts for Lackey.
In the first two, Aceves kept his team in the game, but on Tuesday, when things started to go downhill, Aceves seemed to lose focus.
It has been a recurring theme going back to the final couple of months of last season.
Both in 2011 and much of last year, Aceves pitched in mostly high-leverage situations. That changed when Aceves lost his command.
Since Aug. 1, Aceves is 1-5 with an 8.51 ERA over 48 2/3 innings. Batters have a .315 average against him.
"I think the bottom line is just that: The bottom line," said Farrell before Wednesday's game. "You've got to perform to continue to get opportunities. I've had a chance to meet with Alfredo today just to discuss last night -- not so much the role going forward. But it still comes down to continuing to earn those opportunities. There's been mixed results over the time period that you've identified."
Aceves is expected to pitch as a starter in Pawtucket.
Lavarnway, 25, has appeared in 11 games for the PawSox, all at catcher, and has hit .310 (13-for-42) with three doubles, one home run and seven RBIs.
Victorino exits after sixth inning with sore back
BOSTON -- Right fielder Shane Victorino reinjured his back while taking a check swing in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 6-5 win against the Athletics. After grounding out to short in that same at-bat, Victorino jogged ever so lightly to first base.
Victorino, who missed Boston's day-night doubleheader on Sunday with lower back tightness, didn't take the field when the seventh inning started.
Manager John Farrell is confident that the injury is minor and will pass within a day or two.
"His back tightened up again in the last at-bat. Not as severe as the last time when he missed the game," said Farrell. "We took him out for precautionary reasons. We'll check him again tomorrow. But a smart move on his part, when he felt it, to just shut it down at that point."
When the Red Sox went out for defense in the seventh, Daniel Nava moved from left field to right field. Mike Carp took over in left and moved into Victorino's No. 2 spot in the batting order.
'Shipping Up to Boston' returns to Fenway Park
BOSTON -- No, the Red Sox did not re-acquire Jonathan Papelbon, their all-time leader in saves. But Papelbon's old song has been playing on the speakers at Fenway when closer Andrew Bailey enters the game for the top of the ninth.
For most of Papelbon's time in Boston, he came out to the Dropkick Murphy's catchy song "Shipping Up To Boston."
The three men who have done most of the closing since Papelbon's exit from Boston -- Alfredo Aceves, Bailey and Joel Hanrahan -- had all come out to different songs.
But on the heels of the tragic bombings that killed three people at the Boston Marathon and injured nearly 300 others, Bailey and his teammates decided they should bring the song back to Fenway.
"We talked about it first game after we got back here [from Cleveland]," Bailey said. "We decided it's a Boston song, man. It was a staple for this city for such a long time and the fans really enjoy it. It has nothing to do with anything else besides the fans love it and the fact that the song is a Boston song."
The more joy Boston fans can get these days, the better.
"It's just one of those things," said Bailey. "It gets them pumped up and that's what that's about. We've been rolling with it."
Hanrahan set for Minors rehabilitation assignment
BOSTON -- Closer Joel Hanrahan appeared to pass his final test on Wednesday when he threw another bullpen session to test his right hamstring.
The next time the reliever will pitch in a game should be Friday, when he begins a Minor League rehab assignment.
If Hanrahan pitches for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, the venue would be Buffalo. The PawSox return for a long homestand after that. The righty would probably only need two to three rehab appearances before coming back to the Red Sox.
Lefty reliever Craig Breslow, who struggled in poor weather conditions for Double-A Portland on Tuesday, will pitch for Pawtucket on Saturday.
There is no timetable for lefty Franklin Morales to pitch in a game. His Minor League rehab has been interrupted by a strained pectoral muscle. Because he already made a start for Class A Greenville, the Red Sox can stop the 30-day clock on his rehab and then restart it if need be.
• There was an umpire switch in mid-game on Wednesday. Home-plate umpire (and crew chief) Jerry Layne exited the game in the top of the fourth inning, most likely due to getting hit on his left hand by a foul ball off the bat of Derek Norris in the third inning. Second-base umpire Mike Estabrook moved behind the plate for the top of the fourth and a three-man crew was used for the rest of the game.