UNC Baseball: Daniel Bard picks up win in MLB comeback

After a long absence from the sport of baseball, this former UNC Baseball pitcher Daniel Bard is back pitching at the big-league level.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Daniel Bard pitch at the big-league level.

From 2009-2011, Bard became a reliable member of the Boston Red Sox’s bullpen. In 2012, the Red Sox attempted to transition their 2006 first-round pick into the starting rotation, a move that didn’t pay off for the former Tar Heel.

Bard made ten starts for the Red Sox, and lost the ability to find the strike zone. In 17 total appearances, Bard posted a 5-6 record with a 6.22 ERA, walking 43 batters over just 59 innings of work.

An abdominal injury would then limited Bard to just two appearances during the 2013 season. Since then, Bard has made a few minor league stints, but wasn’t able to fully make a comeback to a big-league mound.

However, this weekend marked Daniel Bard’s Major League Baseball return.

Out of the team’s summer camp, it was announced that Bard would make the Colorado Rockies 30-man Opening Day roster. On Saturday afternoon, the 35-year-old would make his first big-league appearance in seven years.

Although he had not pitched in a big-league game in such a long time, it looked as if Bard didn’t miss a beat.

Bard entered the game in the fifth inning, and pitched his way into the sixth inning. Over his 1 1/3 of work, the right-hander allowed no runs on just two hits, adding a strikeout to his stat line. Of the 25 pitches he threw, 20 of them were strikes.

Oh yeah, and he also picked up the win for the Rockies!

His comeback is already an awesome story, but it seemed to catch a lot of attention on social media:

https://twitter.com/MLB/status/1287173147507281920

Major League Baseball sent out this string of tweets to highlight Bard’s return the mound. During his first appearance, the right-hander hit 99 MPH on the radar gun, a sign that he is healthy and still very capable of pitching at this level.

It’s been a long time (exactly 2,646 days according to the above MLB tweet!) since Bard has appeared in a big-league game, but it’s certain that Saturday’s game was a special moment for the former Tar Heel.

Bard’s comeback was definitely one of the best stories during baseball’s opening weekend. As Bard continues his comeback, it will be interesting to see what kind of role he plays for the Rockies pitching staff in this shortened season.

Next: UNC Alumni: Harrison Barnes rejoins Kings in Orlando

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