Colorado Rockies pitcher Daniel Bard said he hopes to be a source of inspiration for other players after overcoming anxiety and the yips to make his first MLB appearance since 2013.
Not since April 2013 during his time with the Boston Red Sox had Bard featured in the major league – the reliever's lack of control on the mound leaving his career on the brink.
However, after a seven-year absence, the 35-year-old returned on Saturday and claimed his first win since May 2019 as the Rockies edged the Texas Rangers 3-2.
Bard, who threw 20 of his 25 pitches for strikes in relief, told reporters post-game: "Going back to when I was struggling, you get that feeling, that butterflies, heart racing, adrenaline going, and it would contribute to all the bad things.
After 2,646 days, Daniel Bard is back on a Major League mound. Never, ever give up! pic.twitter.com/B3ufsYA8R0— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 25, 2020
"It would raise anxiety and basically take away my ability to focus. When your perspective is different you feel those things and you go 'Alright, it's game time, this is what I'm meant to do'.
"The same physical things are going on. Heart rate's up, adrenalin's pumping but just your perspective on what's going on makes that feeling either a really positive thing where it helps you, or a really negative thing where it crushes you.
"It wasn't something I learned overnight, it’s taken practice, it’s taken a lot of intentional work on my part. Hopefully this proves to anybody out there struggling with anything it can be done and there are avenues to work through those hard things."