Colorado Rockies pitcher Daniel Bard opens season on injured list due to anxiety

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Colorado Rockies pitcher Daniel Bard will open the MLB season on the 15-day injury list.

Ahead of the Rockies' season-opener against the San Diego Padres on Thursday, Bard told reporters that he's listed on the injury list due to anxiety.

"It’s a hard thing to admit. But I’ve been through this before. I have enough going on outside the game to realize what’s important," Bard, 37, said. "I’m extremely grateful to be in an organization that understands these things and is accepting."

Earlier this month, Bard broke Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve's thumb with an errant pitch during the World Baseball Classic while closing for Team USA. Altuve will be out eight to 10 weeks with the injury.

"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 added Thursday.

DANIEL BARD feels awful after breaking Jose Altuve's thumb with errant pitch during World Baseball Classic

Bard made his debut for the Boston Red Sox in 2009. By his second year, he was Boston's premier relief pitcher with a 1.93 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 74⅔ innings. He made 25 consecutive scoreless appearances in 2011, but then faced control issues. In his fourth season in Boston, Bard had a 6.22 ERA with 38 strikeouts, 43 walks and eight hit batters in 59⅓ innings.

He had the yips, leading to a seven-year hiatus from the big leagues. He bounced around in the minor leagues trying to reclaim control before retiring from baseball in 2017 to become a player mentor and mental skills coach.

Bard returned to the pros with the Rockies in 2020 and was named NL Comeback Player of the Year. Last season, he turned in a 1.79 ERA with 69 strikeouts, 25 walks and three hit batters in 60⅓ innings.

MORE: After a seven-year absence, Rockies closer Daniel Bard is better than ever

Rockies closer Daniel Bard saved 32 games in 35 opportunities last season.
Rockies closer Daniel Bard saved 32 games in 35 opportunities last season.

During Team USA's 9-7 victory over Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, Bard suddenly lost command of his pitches. He faced four batters, gave up a hit, two walks, hit a batter, and threw two wild pitches. He threw 17 pitches, and just seven for strikes and caught Altuve with a fastball.

“I feel terrible,’’ Bard told USA TODAY Sports. “I was going sinker-in for a swing. I missed up and in. You just hate to see it."

Contributing: Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rockies pitcher Daniel Bard opens season on IL due to anxiety