ROCKIES

Daniel Bard broke a star player’s thumb as the Rockies already struggle

Mar 20, 2023, 2:22 PM

The Colorado Rockies are squarely in the middle of baseball’s biggest ongoing controversy, well kind of.

During the quarterfinal of the World Baseball Classic over the weekend an errant pitch from Rockies closer and Team USA reliever Daniel Bard caught Jose Altuve on the thumb. The 96 mph fastball broke the former AL MVP’s wrist, delivering a big blow to the reigning World Series champions. The eight-time All-Star, Altuve, is expected to miss at least two months after getting surgery but does not have an official timeline to return.

“I feel terrible,” Bard told USA TODAY Sports “I was going sinker-in for a swing. I missed up and in. You just hate to see it. You saw my reaction… He’s a great player. You want to see great players on the field, even if I have to play against him. I want to play against the best. I wish him, hopefully, a quick recovery. I know it will be a minute.’”

The star second baseman is one of two huge injuries coming from the WBC, with New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz expected to miss the entire season after recording a save to put Puerto Rico through to the quarterfinal. Altuve and Diaz’s injuries have turned the conversation from a great tournament to should MLB players be focusing on the WBC and risking their health just before Opening Day?

The players clearly love the tournament and so do fans, with sky-high ratings on broadcasts in front of sold-out crowds.

Going back to Bard, it’s not just one pitch that has been bad for the 37-year-old recent Comeback Player of the Year.

Bard has the highest ERA among all pitchers who have throw to at least 15 batters, which is over 60 qualifiers including non-big leaguers and some not even professional players. In the tournament, he’s thrown 1.2 innings, getting two strikeouts while handing out four walks and five hits. This has led Bard to give up eight earned runs, the entire team has only allowed 25 runs in the competition. Meaning nearly a third of USA’s runs scored have occurred with Bard on the hook.

Bard isn’t the only Rockies player struggling, the entire team has accounted for the second-worst record in Cactus League play through Sunday. Colorado has suffered a bunch of injuries already, losing Gold Glove second baseman Brendan Rodgers perhaps for the season, while both young outfielder Sean Bouchard and contributing reliever Lucas Gilbreath have suffered significant injuries of their own.

Charlie Blackmon, C.J. Cron and Kris Bryant’s back pains appear to be not serious, yet Colorado will already be without Randal Grichuk, Jake Bird, Tyler Kinley and Antonio Senzatela for some time as they recover from more serious injuries.

German Marquez has been Colorado’s best performer, throwing 11 scoreless innings thus far in spring ball while Elehuris Montero seems to have taken a leap at the plate. But between the injuries and the struggles of young players who the Rockies are going to count on, they’ve already turned to signing several veterans late in the offseason, including Jurickson Profar over the weekend.

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Daniel Bard broke a star player’s thumb as the Rockies already struggle