Daniel Bard was informed by the Colorado Rockies he made their opening day roster on Friday. As Blake Schuster of Bleacher Report wrote, the news means the pitcher is set to make his first appearance in the Major Leagues in seven years.
The Rockies announced Bard, outfielder Matt Kemp and short stop Chris Owings made the team, becoming part of the team’s revamped 2020 opening day.
While Kemp and Owings’ stories were impressive — they came to summer camp as non-roster invitees — Bard’s tale grabbed headlines due to how long he’s been out of the league. He hasn’t thrown a pitch in the Major Leagues since he threw one inning for the Boston Red Sox in 2013.
After that outing, he was designated for assignment and bounced around the MLB for the next seven years. After being cut loose by the Red Sox, Bard became a part of the Chicago Cubs, the Texas Rangers, the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals organizations. He often got as high as the AAA affiliates, but was never called up to the big leagues.
Daniel Bard, Matt Kemp and Chris Owings have been informed they made the team. pic.twitter.com/dLw6BDfpXQ
— Colorado Rockies ???? (@Rockies) July 17, 2020
Schuster said part of the issue was that Bard seemed to develop “the yips,” a term used to describe baseball players — especially pitchers — who suddenly find they don’t have the same control over the ball as they once did.
His struggles eventually led him to retire from the game in 2017, despite the fact that he was still able to register 100 miles per hour on the radar gun with his fastball. A few months after he called it quits, he joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as a “player mentor.”
Bard said during that time, he was able to give his mind and body a rest. He decided he wanted to give his career one more chance and the Rockies obliged. They signed him to a minor league contract in February.
When the league went on hiatus, Bard continued working on his pitching and getting ready, just in case baseball returned. In May, he talked to MassLive about how much better he felt than he had in the last few seasons before he retired.
“The way I feel now trumps anything I felt from 2012 to 2017 when I retired. It’s hard to describe. It just feels—throwing and pitching feels natural. It feels fun. Body feels free and easy,” Bard said. “The overall feeling is just like, ‘This is what throwing a baseball is meant to feel like.’ It’s the way I felt for my first three years in Boston.”