Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard will open the season on the injured list, with right-hander Jake Bird taking his spot on the Opening Day roster
Multiple outlets reported Thursday that Bard is going on the IL to deal with anxiety.
"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, according to MLB.com.
The 37-year-old Bard 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.
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
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.
"I can't speak for Daniel because I'm just observing from 3,000 miles away, but I think he might have gotten caught up in the moment," Rockies manager Bud Black said after the outing. "He's pitching for his country in front of a big crowd. He only had three or four outings with us this spring and Daniel's got a lot of moving parts in his delivery. He was just out of whack.
Bird, 27, made his major league debut last season, going 2-4 with a 4.91 ERA in 38 relief appearances.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas, who signed a minor league deal with Colorado late in the spring, also was named to the Rockies' Opening Day roster
--Field Level Media