Another chance for Bard

March 21, 2009 | 8:33 pm  

Catcher Josh Bard signed a minor-league contract with the Nationals on Saturday, hoping to revive a major league career that was abruptly thrown off track earlier this week. Bard, who began his career in the Rockies organization, went to Cherry Creek High School and lives in Denver, was released Wednesday by the Red Sox.

Bard, 30, will report to Washington’s camp on Sunday and compete with Wil Nieves for the back-up job behind starting catcher Jesus Flores. Bard will earn $600,000 if he makes the Nationals’ 25-man roster.

Bard hit .429 (6-for-14) with one homer and five RBI in six spring games with the Red Sox. He is fully recovered from the right wrist injury that hampered him last year with San Diego and resulted in the Padres letting him go after last season.

Bard, who had a one-month stay with the Red Sox at the start of the 2006 season before being traded to San Diego, opted to return to Boston and signed a non-guaranteed $1.7 million contract. The Red Sox decided to keep George Kottaras, 25, who was out of options, rather than Bard to back up Jason Varitek. However, a Red Sox scout said this week that the club is still looking for a catcher.

By releasing Bard on Wednesday, the deadline for paying a player 30 days termination pay, the Red Sox owed him about $279,000. Had they waited one more day to release him, they would have owed Bard 45 days termination pay or about $418,000.