Colorado Rockies pitcher Daniel Bard is sidelined with anxiety to start the season after battling control issues with Team USA in the WBC
Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard will open the season on the injured list due to anxiety issues, with right-hander Jake Bird taking his spot on the Opening Day roster.
The 37-year-old was a member of Team USA at the just-completed World Baseball Classic, but control issues in a game against Venezuela included an inside pitch to Jose Altuve that broke the hand of the Houston Astros second baseman.
‘It’s a hard thing to admit, but I’ve been through this before,’ Bard told reporters, via Denver Post.
‘I’m extremely grateful to be in an organization that understands these things and is accepting.’
‘From my experience, knowing myself, I think just taking a step back, taking time to work through things, get it right, is the best approach,’ Bard said, per MLB.com.
Daniel Bard is starting the Rockies’ MLB season on the injured list due to mental health issues
‘We all just talked it out and agreed to take some time to get things right,’ he said.
‘That was better than me just trying to plow through it. Knowing myself, I knew it was time to take a step back, so that’s the approach here.’
Bard was a standout reliever for the Boston Red Sox early in his career, posting a 1.93 ERA in 73 outings during his second major league season in 2010.
But control issues surfaced and after two outings in 2013, he stepped away from the game.
The Rockies gave Bard a look in spring training in 2020 and he made the roster, returning to his standout ways last season when he had a 1.79 ERA in 57 outings and finished 16th in National League MVP voting, also winning MLB Comeback Player of the Year.
But in the fifth inning for Team USA against Venezuela, Bard gave up a walk and a single, threw a wild pitch, hit Altuve and issued a walk to force in a run. He ended up charged with four runs on one hit and two walks, while not recording an out.
Bard is far from the first MLB player to take time away from the diamond for mental health reasons.
Arguably, the most shocking was Pete Harnisch stepped away to be treated for depression in 1997. Since, there have been several others including Joey Vetto, Justin Duchscherer and Zack Grienke.
The Royals pitcher missed most of the 2006 season and parts of 2005 due to depression and social anxiety. He returned in 2007 and has played on since.
Bard pitched for Team USA during their run to the final of this month’s World Baseball Classic
Houston Astros star Jose Alutve was struck by a Bard pitch, which resulted in a broken thumb
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