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05/28/11 6:59 PM ET

Friend missing, Bard reaches out for help

DETROIT -- Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard has a heavy heart at the moment, out of concern for a close and longtime friend who has been missing since Tuesday.

"His name is Matt Hill," Bard said on Saturday afternoon. "He went missing on Tuesday in the Washington, D.C., area in the middle of the day. It was like 11 a.m. [ET]."

According to a story in the Washington Post, Hill is 26 years old and was last seen in the Chinatown neighborhood of D.C. He was driving a 1996 black Honda CX with a D.C. license plate of DT-2747.

There is a link on Facebook dedicated to finding Hill.

"That's the biggest thing, to have people on the lookout for his vehicle," said Bard. "He was last seen in the Chinatown neighborhood right near the Verizon Center. He dropped off a student that he mentors, a George Washington student. That was the last person who knew him that saw him. Then they had one debit card charge at a gas station about 30 minutes later, [and] 11:30 [p.m.] is the last time they have his whereabouts. And there's really been few clues as to what happened after that."

Bard had been in touch with Hill as recently as Monday, when the Red Sox were in Cleveland.

"I exchanged some texts with him on Monday during the day, so roughly 24 hours before he went missing," said Bard. "He was a big Indians fan, is a big Indians fan, so he was giving me a hard time about going into Cleveland."

Bard first learned his friend was missing on Thursday morning. It has been a tough couple of days for the righty.

"Matt and I grew up together," Bard said. "I've known him since I was about 10 or 11 years old. He was a groomsman in my wedding, so he's a pretty good friend."

Hill works for the campus outreach program at George Washington University, serving as a campus director. He is not the type of individual who would just disappear for no reason, according to Bard.

"Extremely out of character," Bard said. "He's one of the most positive, outgoing, happy people I've ever met. I'm not just saying that. I think anyone who's met him would say that. He loves his job, loves the people he works with. He's not married. There's nothing to tie him down, nothing [for him] to run from. That's why this all seems so strange. He's a clean-cut guy, one of my best friends growing up, never done a drug in his life, so we're 99 percent sure that something external was involved."

Bard hopes that his friend is unharmed and will be found soon.

"My mom's been in touch with his mom," said Bard. "They've been good friends for 15 years now. He's got two younger brothers I know pretty well, so I've been texting him. Another guy, a close mutual friend of ours who flew to D.C. to help in the search and the investigation, I've been talking to him twice a day getting updates."

While Bard will do his best to focus on getting Major League hitters out, he will keep close tabs on the search for his good friend.

"It's not easy," Bard said. "The toughest day was the first day I found out about it, because it was a shock. Now it's become a mystery we're trying to figure out. There's just so few clues that we've seen. I'm trying to figure it out myself. Guys on the team have been great, supportive, talking to me about it."

"I care about Daniel," said manager Terry Francona. "Sometimes real life, as much as we care about the game -- and we do, and we're supposed to -- but there's real life there, too. Just do the best you can. It's weird. You never want to apologize for caring about the game, because it's important to us. It's supposed to be. At the same time, this is something entirely different. We just do the best we can."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.