Symptoms of the yips returned for Daniel Bard in the World Baseball Classic, but Rockies manager Bud Black isn’t worried about his closer.
Bard was erratic in his outing for Team USA in the quarterfinals of the WBC over the weekend. In the Americans’ 9-7 win over Venezuela, Bard was pegged for four earned runs on two walks, a hit batsmen, a single and a wild pitch while not recording an out.
It was the sort of outing that had Rockies fans wondering if the 2020 MLB Comeback Player of the Year, who posted a reliable 1.79 ERA in 57 games with 34 saves last year, is struggling with the same yips that kept him off a bigleague mound from 201419.
Black told Mlb.com’s Manny Randhawa he doesn’t believe that’s the case, even though Saturday against Venezuela hasn’t been Bard’s lone ugly outing of the tournament. The 37-year-old also gave up four runs on four hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning in a pool play game against Mexico. His 43.20 ERA over three games is the worst on Team USA.
“I can’t speak for Daniel because I’m just observing from 3,000 miles away,” Black told Randhawa on Sunday at Las Vegas Ballpark. “But I think he might have gotten caught up in the moment… 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.”
Team USA, which went on to blast Cuba 14-2 in the semifinals to move one win away from a second straight WBC title, now takes on the winner of Japan and Mexico, which play in Monday night’s other semifinal.
Rockies southpaw Kyle Freeland pitched well in Team USA’S opening win of pool play — a 6-2 win over Great Britain. The southpaw threw three innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits.
Colorado announced that it optioned righthanded pitcher Noah Davis and infielder/outfielder Nolan Jones to Triple-a Albuquerque. Plus, the Rockies have reassigned left-hander Logan Allen, right-hander Jeff Criswell, catcher Braxton Fulford and right-hander Karl Kauffmann to minor league camp.
Hughes’ Cactus League debut
Gabriel Hughes, Colorado’s first-round draft pick last year out of Gonzaga, got called up from minor league camp to make his first Cactus League start on Monday.