Daniel Bard, who hadn’t pitched in a Major League Baseball game in over seven years, picked up his first win since May 29, 2012, in his return to action Saturday.
The right-hander, making his first appearance in 2,646 days, pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, helping the Colorado Rockies outlast the Texas Rangers, 3-2. He came on in the fifth with two runners on and two outs and kept the Rangers from scoring, then he escaped from another jam in the sixth.
2,646 days since Daniel Bard pitched in a MLB game.
Today, he picked up his first win since May 29, 2012. pic.twitter.com/nlkM7BoJlE
— MLB (@MLB) July 25, 2020
Bard started his career with the Red Sox, posting a 1.93 ERA in 73 games his second year in 2010 to highlight an up-and-down five-year stretch. He had trouble with his control, both at times with the Red Sox and after he was in the majors, and he was unable to successfully re-launch his career after a half-dozen attempts.
Eventually, he ended up working as a player mentor and mental skills coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks last year, and his throws caught the eye of some Diamondback players. Bard, now 35, decided to get back on a mound in January, and he ultimately earned a spot on Colorado’s Opening Day roster.
“It’s going to be a great story when he comes back and pitches well,” Rockies manager Bud Black told reporters before the season. “We’re optimistic about that.”
On Saturday, he did just that, throwing 20 of his 25 pitches for strikes and overpowering hitters with the dominant fastball that helped accelerate his ascension in the mid-to-late 2000s.
Daniel Bard's 1st K since 2013:
98.7 mph / 2,652 rpm 🔥+🌀
That explosive fastball he used to throw for the Red Sox? Now we have the Statcast data behind it. pic.twitter.com/p7rN534wdU
— David Adler (@_dadler) July 26, 2020
“He said three words,” Black told reporters after the game. “He said, ‘That was fun.'”