In what would be a comeback story for the ages, Daniel Bard is pitching his way into a spot in the Colorado Rockies bullpen.
When Daniel Bard announced that he was attempting yet another comeback, the news was met with a large amount of skepticism. He had made these attempts before, trying to latch on with five different teams after his time with the Red Sox ended in a spectacular flameout. When Bard signed with the Colorado Rockies following a three year retirement, absolutely nothing was expected.
Maybe that time away from the game was what Bard needed. He looked good in his outing at Coors Field on Monday, and may actually be pitching his way into the Rockies’ plans.
The same could not be said in spring training. Bard had struggled over his 2.1 innings, allowing seven runs on five hits and three walks. He did strike out three batters, but this comeback seemed destined to have a familiar ending.
There was a time when Bard was one of the top setup men in the game. From 2009 through 2011, he produced a 2.88 ERA and a 1.056 WHiP, striking out 213 batters with 76 walks in his 197 innings. Bard was a weapon in the Red Sox bullpen, a key piece in the bridge to Jonathan Papelbon.
Then came the Red Sox ill-fated decision to put Bard in the rotation. From that moment, he lost his command, the once dominant reliever suddenly unable to locate the strike zone or get anyone out. As time went on, Bard was more and more of a disaster on the mound, his brief sojourns to the minors seemingly doing nothing more than reinforcing the idea that his career was over due to the yips.
But now, there is a chance. It may just be one inning, but for those few minutes, Bard was able to turn the clock back to 2011, when he was a young fireballer mowing down the American League. Even if he makes just one appearance in the majors this season, the now 35 year old will have completed the most improbable comeback in recent memory.
Daniel Bard may be pitching his way into the Colorado Rockies’ plans for 2020. There is still a long way to go for his comeback to be complete, but for now, there is reason to hope once more.