BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Red Sox brought up one of their prized prospects, promoting right-hander Daniel Bard from Triple-A Pawtucket before their game against Tampa Bay on Sunday

Bard, drafted with Boston’s second pick – 28th overall – in the first round of the 2006 draft, followed up an outstanding year in Double-A with a fast start at Pawtucket, striking out 29 in 16 innings. In 16 appearances, Bard is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA.

“He was probably the talk of camp (during spring training), not only our camp but everywhere we went,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He continued to throw the ball really well, went to Triple-A and picked up where he left off.”

To make room for Bard, the Red Sox designated struggling left-hander Javier Lopez for assignment.

Bard is known for a fastball in the high 90s, but Francona says his breaking pitch will be important.

“That’s a work in progress,” he said. “But if you put some bend in it when you throw 98 (mph) you’re going to have success.”

Lopez, picked up from the White Sox for right-hander David Riske in June 2006, appeared in seven games, going 0-2 with a 9.26 ERA.

“He’s a nice kid,” Francona said. “It was hard, but he was having trouble getting people out.”

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