Rockies closer Daniel Bard kicks off season on IL, cites fear; Missed 7 MLB seasons because of Yips

Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard started the MLB season on Thursday the 15-day casualty list.

Bard – who lost seven seasons of his career battling the Yips – told reporters his stint with the IL stemmed from fear on and off the field.

“From my experience – knowing myself – I think the best approach is to just take a step back, take your time to work things through, get it right.” said bardaccording to Thomas Harding of

Bard, 37, is in his fourth season with the Rockies, having spent the last two as the primary closer. He joined the Rockies in 2020 after a seven-year hiatus from MLB.

Former first round selection hampered by control issues

Bard began his career in 2009 with the Boston Red Sox. A first-round pick by the Red Sox in 2006, Bard had a 3.65 ERA as a rookie and went on to become one of baseball’s most effective assists in his sophomore season, while posting a 1.93 ERA with 76 strikeouts scored in 74.2 innings.

In his fourth season in 2012, control issues took over. Bard’s WHIP increased to 1.736 from .959 the previous season. He posted a 6.22 ERA in 59.1 innings while recording a 38-to-43 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He pitched just one MLB inning the following season and then gave up 69 walks and 16 HBPs in 19 1/3 innings of minor league work with multiple organizations. After 2013, he was apparently retired from baseball for good.

Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Daniel Bard (52) in the ninth inning of a baseball game Thursday, August 11, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Bard returns with Rockies, thrives as closer

But Bard returned to MLB in 2020 with the Rockies as an opening day member for the truncated COVID-19 season. He won on his first appearance, throwing 20 of his 25 pitches to strikes. He posted a 3.65 ERA that season and led the team with six saves.

The following season, he recorded a 5.61 ERA with 20 saves in 65.1 innings. In 2022, he showed 34 saves, 69 strikeouts, and 25 walks in 60.1 innings with a 1.79 ERA, making him an elite prospect. His .994 WHIP was the second best of his career. He himself earned some MVP votes.

Control problems resurfaced at WBC

Bard was a member of Team USA during the World Baseball Classic. Meanwhile, his control problems resurfaced a game on March 19 against Venezuela. He took the mound for the fifth inning of USA’s 9-7 win, where he gave up two walks, hit a hitter, threw a wild pitch and allowed a single. He was charged with four runs without recording an out. He walked in one of the runs.

The Rockies have not provided a timeline nor addressed the reason for Bard’s IL stay Thursday. Bard opened up himself while speaking to reporters.

“It’s hard to admit” said bardper Denver Gazette Danielle Allentuck. “But I’ve been through this before. I’ve got enough to do outside of the game to realize what’s important. …

“I am very grateful to be in an organization that understands and accepts these things.”

The Rockies called up right-handed pitcher Jake Bird ahead of Thursday’s game against the San Diego Padres.

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