Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard will begin the season on the injured list because of anxiety, according to Danielle Allentuck of the Denver Gazette.
Bard, 37, did not make an appearance in the majors from 2013 through 2019 after battling the yips -- the name most commonly given to the condition where pitchers lose the ability to throw strikes. Bard conceded that this is not the first time he's dealt with anxiety, but credited the Rockies for their willingness to work with him.
"It's a hard thing to admit," he told Allentuck, among others. "But I've been through this before. I have enough going on outside the game to realize what's important … I'm extremely grateful to be in an organization that understands these things and is accepting."
Bard has spent the last three seasons with the Rockies. In 147 appearances, he's amassed a 3.58 ERA (135 ERA+) and a 2.48 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Last season, he pitched well enough to receive down ballot consideration for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
Earlier this spring, Bard pitched for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Unfortunately, that outing was scrutinized for how slow manager Mark DeRosa was to react to Bard's command issues -- he issued two walks, hit a batter, and threw a wild pitch without recording an out.
Rockies manager Bud Black said the following at the time: "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."
The Rockies will begin their season on Thursday night in San Diego against the Padres. The starting pitching matchup is expected to be Germán Márquez versus Blake Snell. First pitch is slated for 9:40 p.m. ET.