Closer Daniel Bard rallies Rockies’ bullpen with cowboy theme

Rockies closer Daniel Bard has a message for his buddies in the bullpen.

Giddy-up!

Bard publically unveiled a T-shirt Friday night before the Rockies hosted Philadelphia at Coors Field, one he’s already shared with his fellow relievers. The shirts feature a bearded man with a cowboy hat with the words “SAY WHEN.”

Translation: Be prepared at a moment’s notice.

“Just take the ball whenever they ask and compete,” Bard explained.

When Bard began his career with the Boston Red Sox, their bullpen resembled a pirate ship.

“When I first got called up in Boston, something was already in place, we were pirates,” he said. “It had nothing to do with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but (it was) a pirate theme. We had a skull-and-crossbones flag hanging in the bullpen. We had T-shirts. We had pirate names. We had a good time with it and it gave us a mentality to rally around, an identity to rally around.”

The Rockies’ bullpen could use a boost. Entering Friday’s game, the group’s 5.43 ERA was the second-highest in the National League.

Freeland update. Manager Bud Black said that left-hander Kyle Freeland is making significant progress as he works toward returning from the strained left shoulder he suffered March 23 during a Cactus League game. Freeland threw from the slope of the mound Friday, and on Saturday is scheduled to have his first bullpen session since the injury.

Rodgers update. Infielder Brendan Rodgers, sidelined since March 13 when he strained his right hamstring trying to steal a base, continues progressing but he’s still not close to playing in games.

Rodgers has been taking batting practice with the team but is not sprinting yet. Black said, however, that Rodgers is close to being able to run on the grass and continues to work out with the team.

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