CHICAGO -- Theo Epstein selected Daniel Bard in the first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft when he was the general manager of the Red Sox, and on Wednesday, Epstein, now president of baseball operations for the Cubs, picked the right-hander again.
The Cubs claimed Bard, once considered one of the best setup pitchers in baseball, off waivers from the Red Sox, and the right-hander was expected to join the team Friday at Wrigley Field. Bard, who has struggled with his consistency this season, will work with Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio on the side.
"This guy was arguably the best setup guy in baseball a few years ago, and now he's healthy and we got a big power arm," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Wednesday. "Theo has a lot of confidence in him, and you know as well as we do that this guy was one of the best -- if not the best -- not too long ago."
The right-hander broke into the Majors with the Red Sox in May 2009 and was an effective setup pitcher for closer Jonathan Papelbon. He set Red Sox records in '10 and '11 for holds, with 32 and 34, respectively. The Red Sox tried to convert him to a starter prior to the '12 season, but he went 4-6 with a 5.30 ERA in 10 starts.
Bard pitched at three levels in Boston's Minor League system this year, and he appeared in 16 games, totaling 15 1/3 innings. He has thrown 11 wild pitches and walked 27, while giving up 11 earned runs and 14 hits.
"I'm not surprised that the Cubs would claim him, given the familiarity with Theo and Jed [Hoyer, general manager], who drafted him here," Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday. "I guess the most important thing is that we wish him well. We hope he gets back on track. There's still a good pitcher in there once he gets back on track."
The right-hander is 10-19 with five saves and a 3.67 ERA in 211 big league appearances (10 starts) with the Red Sox covering all or part of the last five seasons (2009-13). Overall, Bard has a 3.24 ERA in 201 relief appearances and a 5.30 ERA in 10 starts. On Monday, Bard, 28, was designated for assignment.
"I'm not going to say that he can't [come back]," Farrell said. "There's still a player and a pitcher there that's motivated, and yet anytime that there's activity disrupted by an injury, that's going to slow that process. Time was of the essence with us. We needed the roster space. But it needs, based on what we saw over the last couple of years, it needs to be built back gradually. How long that takes is the unknown in this."
Bard started this year at Double-A Portland, and he was recalled after eight appearances. On April 27, in his second appearance for the Red Sox, he walked two batters on nine pitches and was pulled from the game, then returned to Portland two days later. He missed time because of a right oblique strain.
To make room for Bard on the Cubs' 40-man roster, outfielder Cole Gillespie was designated for assignment. Gillespie batted .203 (12-for-59) with two doubles and four RBIs in 28 games with the Giants and Cubs this season.
Young boy OK after getting struck by bat
CHICAGO -- A young boy was struck in the face by a bat at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, but he returned after the freak accident to watch the Cubs rally to beat the Marlins.
With one out in the top of the sixth inning, Giancarlo Stanton was facing Jeff Samardzija when the slugger swung and missed, and his bat flew into the seats near the Cubs' dugout, about seven rows away from the field. Anyone watching could only cringe as the bat struck the boy.
The father grabbed the boy, believed to be 3 years old, and left the seating area, and his mother followed. Their identities were not revealed.
"That's a tough little kid right there," Samardzija said. "That didn't hit anything but that kid's jaw. It went right into his face. They got him out of there. It was tough to see. They brought the kid back and it looked like he was doing all right. He'll have a good story for the rest of his life -- he took a bat to his face and walked away from it. That was weird to see."
The family went to the first aid area at Wrigley, and they later returned for the rest of the game. The boy got to keep the bat.
"It's obviously something you never want to have happen, and it's not like I hit a ball out there, [so] I actually did something half-right," Stanton said. "Thank goodness he was all right, because the way his dad carried him off, it was like, the worst."
The father grabbed the boy and hustled him out of the seating area immediately.
"That was terrible," said Stanton, who watched the family leave before resuming play. "I don't have kids, but I have nieces and nephews, and I see a lot of the guys' kids around here all the time. It's never a good thing to see."
Stanton and Samardzija both were told later that the boy was OK.
"He has my bat and I'll give him a ring a little bit later, too," Stanton said.
The inning did not go well for Samardzija either. Stanton eventually singled, and the Marlins loaded the bases to set up Adeiny Hechavarria's grand slam. But the Cubs rallied for a 9-7 win.
Was Samardzija rattled by what happened to the boy?
"I thought we came back," Samardzija said. "Two singles, and I did what I wanted to do, and they found a hole. I didn't want to walk [Logan] Morrison there [before Hechavarria's at-bat].
"[The boy getting hit] didn't affect me," Samardzija said. "It's a freak thing and unfortunate to see."
Cubs add 'Zero' Lim to bullpen, designate Bowden
CHICAGO -- Dale Sveum admitted he didn't know much about new Cubs reliever Chang-Yong Lim except his nickname, "Zero." The right-hander knows a little about the Cubs.
"Obviously, the curse for 100 years," Lim said through his interpreter, Tae Kim. "I heard about it. Hopefully, maybe they can make a change."
The Cubs added another arm Wednesday, selecting the contract of Lim, 37, from Triple-A Iowa. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Michael Bowden was designated for assignment.
Lim, a sidearm pitcher, signed a two-year contract with the Cubs this past offseason as he continued his recovery from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in 2012. He pitched at four levels in the Cubs' Minor League organization, reaching Iowa at the end of July. He gave up one earned run over 11 1/3 innings in 11 outings.
In 21 Minor League appearances, Lim gave up four earned runs over 22 1/3 innings, making five starts. He struck out 24 and walked seven, holding batters to a .173 batting average.
Before joining the Cubs, Lim had pitched 17 seasons professionally in Korea (1996-2007) and Japan ('08-12). He also has pitched for Korea in a number of international events, helping his country to a bronze medal at the '00 Summer Olympics and the silver medal in the '09 World Baseball Classic.
"His nickname is 'Zero,'" Sveum said when asked about the newest reliever. "He's coming back from a couple injuries, and has been pitching well for us in the Minor Leagues. He'll come up here and we'll see what we've got."
Lim said pitching in the Major Leagues was a natural progression after pitching in Korea and Japan.
"I want to see how it feels like," he said about pitching in the U.S. "I'm nervous and excited."
Bowden went 1-3 with a 4.30 ERA in 34 relief appearances with the Cubs this season.
"I wasn't necessarily happy with my performance here," Bowden said. "I've been through this a few times before. It's just part of the game. It's not a big deal. I love playing here, I love playing for the city of Chicago and the fans here, my hometown team, but God has something else in store for me."
Sveum said Bowden gave the team "a lot of tough innings, and [he] did a nice job in the role he had."
With the moves, the Cubs' 40-man roster is now at capacity.
Sveum tips cap to Pirates' first non-losing season
CHICAGO -- Dale Sveum played for the Pirates from 1996-97 and again in '99, and the Cubs' manager knows all about the losing seasons in Pittsburgh. On Tuesday, the Pirates won their 81st game, and they are guaranteed their first non-losing season in 21 years.
"It's obviously been a tough run for them for 20 years," Sveum said. "I was there for parts of it, and it's good to see they finally got over that hump, and not only got over the hump, but there's an above-average chance they'll be in the playoffs as well.
"It's good for the city and the organization," he said. "A lot of people have been there for a long time. It's nice to see that organization turn the corner."
The Cubs still have seven games against the Pirates, with a series in Pittsburgh Sept. 12-15 and at Wrigley Field Sept. 23-25. After Wednesday's game against the Marlins, the Cubs will play 20 of their final 23 games against National League Central teams.
"So many people put emphasis on what division, and whatever," Sveum said. "We're trying to win any game. It doesn't matter who we're playing. We're going to be playing some contending teams, but for the most part, right now the playoffs are finalized in the National League unless somebody goes out and loses every ballgame they play.
"You can say what you want about spoilers -- you don't want to be a spoiler, you just want to go out and hopefully your team competes and plays hard every day," he said. "Right now, we're having trouble winning games, and it doesn't matter who we're playing. We're just trying to win ballgames and play the best you possibly can."
• The Cubs don't know who will be their closer in 2014, but Sveum said Wednesday they may use right-hander Pedro Strop in save situations in the final month of games.
"I don't think you'll have any idea at the end of this season about what's going to happen," Sveum said of the Cubs' bullpen. "So many things go into play there and it's a long offseason. Certain things come up. There's no way you can predict or plan what's going to happen by Spring Training next year."
The Cubs have used 21 relievers this season, with Lim, Bard and Justin Grimm in the bullpen waiting for appearances.
• No decision has been made on the next step for right-hander Scott Baker, who made his final Minor League rehab start on Monday for Class A Kane County. Baker has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, which he had in April 2012.
• With right-hander Alberto Cabrera making his season debut and lefty Zac Rosscup making his big league debut on Tuesday, the Cubs have utilized 52 players, one shy of the franchise-record 53 who appeared last year. Still looking to make their debuts are Lim, Grimm and catcher J.C. Boscan.
The Cubs have utilized 11 rookies this season, and only four players on the current 25-man roster were on the 2012 Opening Day roster. That list consists of Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, James Russell and Jeff Samardzija.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.