Daniel Bard's save drought is finally over after the righty reliever fanned Arizona Diamondbacks pinch hitter Stephen Vogt to cap the Colorado Rockies' 8-7 comeback win and earn his first save since 2011 while with the Boston Red Sox. It was his sixth career save overall.
Once considered the closer in waiting in Boston after a quick climb to the big leagues, Bard couldn't rediscover his control through a half-dozen comeback attempts after his previous major league appearance in 2013. He finally settled into a job last year as a player mentor and mental skills coach for the Diamondbacks.
The 28th overall pick in the 2006 draft, Bard reached the majors in 2009 and in his first 197 innings posted a 2.88 ERA with a whopping 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
The 35-year-old Bard developed control issues in 2012, when his ERA ballooned to 6.22, and soon he was in the grips of a full-blown case of the yips, unable to consistently find the plate with any of his pitches. An abdominal injury limited him to just two appearances in 2013, and in subsequent seasons, he had failed comeback attempts with the Rangers, Cardinals and Mets.
The Rockies gave him one last shot this year, and he made the most of it, regaining not just his control but also his confidence, as he has posted 12 strikeouts and zero walks in nine innings so far this season, including recording his first win last month after more than seven years away from the major leagues.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.