General manager Theo Epstein says the move was made as a testament to the performance of the team's other young catchers, especially George Kottaras, who spent last season at Triple-A Pawtucket and was a September callup.
Kottaras would move into the backup role behind Jason Varitek. His, primary responsibility will be to catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
Bard will receive $262,295 in termination pay rather than a $1.6 million salary this year. After Wednesday, players with non-guaranteed contracts put on waivers receive 45 days' termination pay rather than 30.
Bard played seven games with the Red Sox in 2006. He was signed to catch Tim Wakefield's knuckleball, but struggled and was traded to San Diego along with reliever Cla Meredith for catcher Doug Mirabelli.
Bard batted .202 with a homer and 16 RBIs in 178 at-bats for the Padres last season. His career batting average is .265, with 28 home runs and 168 RBIs in 431 games with the Indians, Red Sox and Padres.