Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard will start the season on the 15-day injury list (IL), citing anxiety issues, the team announced on Thursday.
“It’s a hard thing to admit, but I’ve been through stuff before and I got enough going on outside of this game to realize what’s important,” Bard said prior to the team’s Opening Day game against the San Diego Padres, according to MLB.com.
“And these games are super important. But there’s also other things that are also really important,” Bard added.
The 37-year-old, who participated with Team USA at the World Baseball Classic, struggled with control issues in the tournament, notably injuring Houston Astros star Jose Altuve after hitting him with a pitch, which fractured the second baseman’s right thumb.
“This is probably the best thing to do,” manager Bud Black said, according to The Denver Gazette. “Take a step back. Re-group in a lot of different ways and see where we are in a couple weeks.”
According to the Rockies, Bard will remain with the team during the IL stint and will need an injury rehab assignment before rejoining the bullpen. No timetable was given on his return.
Bard was selected with the 28th pick in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox and made his Major League Baseball debut with the team in 2009.
After struggling in two relief appearances for the Red Sox in 2013, he was sent down to the minor leagues and would be designated for assignment in September 2013.
The relief pitcher bounced around the minor leagues with several organizations for several years but retired in 2017 after struggling to regain his form.
In February 2020, Bard signed a minor league deal with Colorado Rockies and made the team’s Opening Day roster. He would be named the National League Comeback Player of the Year, after posting a 3.65 Earned Run Average (ERA) and six saves in 23 relief appearances.
“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 told reporters Thursday, according to MLB.com.
CNN has reached out to the Colorado Rockies but did not immediately hear back.