After a very tough start to his 2023 in which he battled anxiety issues and seemingly lost the ability to throw strikes, Daniel Bard appears to be finally ready to pitch for the Colorado Rockies:
The Colorado Rockies announced today that they have reinstated right-handed pitcher Daniel Bard from the 15-day injured list and have optioned right-hander Peter Lambert to Triple-A Albuquerque.— Rockies Club Information (@RockiesClubInfo) April 19, 2023
Bard has looked great in a couple of Minor League appearances recently, striking out three of the four batters he faced in Triple-A over the weekend. The righty was one of the feel-good stories of 2022, nailing down 34 saves for the Colorado Rockies and even earning downballot MVP votes after being out of the Majors from 2014 to 2019.
But this spring, it was clear that something wasn’t right. Bard was having trouble reaching his former high-90s velocity, and his mechanics and control were erratic. After tough outings in Spring Training, he struggled badly under the bright lights of the World Baseball Classic — even breaking Jose Altuve’s thumb with an errant pitch against Venezuela.
The Rockies eventually put the reliever on the IL with what the pitcher called anxiety — although he described as something different from the performance anxiety that comes with being a professional athlete. Bard was admirably open and honest about what he was going through, telling MLB.com:
Thankfully, some time to rest and recuperate and refine his game seems to have done wonders. Pierce Johnson has been filling in as the Rockies’ closer, but you have to think that if Bard can recapture his 2022 form he’ll be back in the ninth inning in no time — he’s a recommended add in all fantasy leagues.