In the fifth inning of the Rockies' eventual Saturday win over the Rangers (COL 3, TEX 2), reliever Daniel Bard took the mound for Colorado. That's notable because in doing so Bard appeared in a major league game for the first time since April 27, 2013 -- i.e., more than seven years ago, or to be exact 2,646 days ago.
Bard, a first-round draft choice out of the University of North Carolina in 2006, debuted as a hard-throwing reliever with the Red Sox in 2009 and was generally effective across three seasons. The Red Sox attempted to transition him to a starting role, but around that time Bard almost completely lost his ability to throw strikes. Following the 2012 season in which he pitched to a 6.22 ERA and walked 43 batters in 59 1/3 innings, Bard's major league career appeared to be in danger. Other similarly disastrous stints in the minors with the Red Sox, Cardinals, Rangers, and Mets followed.
Against all expectations, Bard, now age 35, has clawed his way back to the highest level. In case you thought otherwise, this is no mere novelty act. Bard still has a huge fastball, as Texas' Rougned Odor would surely testify:
Yep, that's 99 mph on the gun, and that, suffice it to say, is elite fastball velocity. On the day, Bard worked 1 1/3 innings with no runs on two hits and a strikeout against no walks. Of his 25 pitches, 20 went for strikes. That strikeout is his first since April 25, 2013. Bard was also credited with the win on Saturday, and that was his first MLB win since May 29, 2012.
Without question, Bard looked like a quality major league reliever on Saturday, but even if his comeback is short-lived it's already a baseball miracle. Given Bard's obvious will and drive, he won't be satisfied with "just" that.