ANAHEIM -- After having a day to get his feet wet in his return to the Red Sox, reliever Daniel Bard was officially recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket and activated for Thursday night's finale with the Angels.
Manager Bobby Valentine hopes to ease the righty back into action.
"Hopefully I'll be able to pitch him when I want to -- not when I have to," said Valentine, who added that he also hopes to bring Bard in for a clean inning.
Bard was Boston's primary setup man for the majority of a three-year span, from 2009-11.
Obviously the priority now is to help the righty get his confidence back after a year in which he has battled command in the Majors and Minors.
"We have other guys right now tonight who are slated to get the ball in one-run games in the eighth inning," said Valentine. "But that doesn't mean it's not going to be a tie game in extra innings [when Bard pitches]."
The addition of Bard also opens up options for Alfredo Aceves, who closed for most of the year but has struggled mightily in that role of late.
Back in Spring Training, it was the preference of Aceves to start. Valentine indicated the club might stretch out the righty for the last few weeks of the season, though it's unclear if he will be able to get a start.
"He's one of 25 guys on the team and we're trying to get everyone into a place where the opportunity they're given fits their needs and our needs," Valentine said. "It doesn't always work out."
Asked if Aceves could start before the season ends, Valentine said, "I don't know. It seems like we have a lot of starters right now. But maybe."