1:30pm: The Yankees announced the move, adding that Bard has been assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
1:12pm: The Yankees have claimed right-hander Luke Bard off waivers from the Rays, reports Lindsey Adler of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tampa Bay designated Bard for assignment earlier in the week. The Yankees opened a spot on the 40-man roster this morning when they outrighted right-hander Carlos Espinal, so there’s a 40-man vacancy for the newly claimed Bard.
Bard, 31, possesses a tidy 1.93 ERA in 14 frames with Tampa Bay this season, though his small sample of work is a good example of how misleading earned run average can be. Bard has fanned only eight of the 56 batters he’s faced (14.3%) and walked seven of them (12.5%) in addition to plunking another pair. He’s been knocked around for a 4.88 ERA in 24 Triple-A innings so far in 2022 and came into the current season with a career 5.05 ERA and 5.32 FIP in 66 big league innings.
That said, Bard has long been able to spin his four-seamer at a higher rate than just about anyone in the game, and that’s again been the case in 2022, when his four-seamer’s spin rate sits in the 99th percentile among big league hurlers, per Statcast. He’s averaging 94.1 mph on the pitch and carries a solid enough 11.8% swinging-strike rate in his career (on all pitches combined). Bard is in his final minor league option year, so he can be sent back and forth between the Bronx and Triple-A Scranton without needing to pass through waivers for the remainder of this year at least.