Lab rat. Guinea pig. Space chimp.

For PETA sake, it’s time for Daniel Bard to free himself from the research laboratory the Red Sox are keeping their still abundantly talented right-hander in for the second spring in a row.

Last year, he was the willing subject of a well-intentioned plan to convert him from a back-of-the-bullpen lock to a starting pitcher.

That experiment was a well-chronicled flop, and now we’ve flash-forwarded to this spring, when he is being reprogrammed, the Red Sox tweaking his delivery, attempting to help him rediscover his mechanics and that blazing fastball that launched his big league career four springs ago.

Bard knows he holds the key to his own freedom.

“It’s a little easier to focus when you know exactly what the organization wants you to do — it’s not like a hopeful experiment type of thing, which was kind of the feel last year,” Bard said yesterday. “I didn’t go into it with that mindset, but God, the amount of questions I was asked, it made me think, ‘Maybe I don’t have a starting job.’ I didn’t know what to expect.

“This year it’s easy. They say, ‘You’re coming in as a reliever, throw the ball like you’re supposed to,’ and I know things will work out like they should. I’m not worried about it beyond that.”

Yesterday’s task for Bard was a simulated game, held on a back field a couple of hours before his teammates played the Grapefruit League game.

Instead of having two or three exhibition game appearances under his belt like the other relievers, Bard remains stuck at one, a one-inning stint last month in which he faced four batters. He struck out one, walked one and hit one.