He was, with little debate, the best setup man in major league baseball in 2010 and 2011. It was tough to deny that Daniel Bard was a stud with that 97-mile-per-hour heat, where he’d be automatic in the eighth inning for the Red Sox before giving way to Jonathan Papelbon.

And then 2012 happened.

Bard was converted from reliever to starter and the problems began. Bard hit batters and was unable to throw strikes (43 walks in 59⅓ innings).

Pundits called it a bout of Steve Blass disease, which never really improved through 2012, 2013 (mostly in the Cubs’ system), and 2014, when his limited outings in the Rangers’ farm system were almost sad — 18 batters faced, seven hit by pitches and nine walks.

Was it a mental block or was it physical?