Colorado Rockies About to Make Tough Bullpen Decisions
A trio of Colorado Rockies pitchers made rehab appearances on Tuesday night as they tried to work their way back into the bullpen in Denver.
Right-hander Christian Bergman gained the start for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes and threw five innings as he continued to battle back from an oblique injury that landed him on the disabled list in late May. In his five innings, Bergman allowed four hits (including one home run) and three earned runs while walking two and striking out six.
In his two rehab starts in Albuquerque, Bergman has thrown a total of nine innings and has allowed three earned runs in each start.
Also in Albuquerque, Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino continued his recovery from Tommy John surgery by throwing one inning and striking out two batters.
Tuesday’s outing marked Ottavino’s eighth minor league appearance. He’s thrown 6.1 total innings and allowed eight hits in those frames.
Neither pitcher, however, could keep the Isotopes from losing their 12th consecutive game and dropping to 31-48 on the season.
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Bergman is much closer to returning to the Rockies than Ottavino, and it will force the Rockies to make some decisions in their bullpen. Several players have tried to fill the long relief role that has suited Bergman so well this season in his absence, but Colorado has yet to find a solid replacement.
Currently, Jordan Lyles and/or Yohan Flande are filling the role.
When the right-hander returns, it could mark the beginning of a run of comebacks for Colorado pitchers. Chris Rusin, Tyler Chatwood and Jake McGee join Ottavino and Bergman as pitchers who are all trying to work their way back from injuries. Only Chatwood is a starter, although Bergman is certainly capable of a spot start from time to time.
Speaking of McGee, he pitched one clean inning for Class A Modesto on Tuesday night in his first injury rehab appearance since going on the disabled list with a knee issue. It’s the first in a step of showings that will ultimately lead to the reliever rejoining the team most likely this weekend on its National League West Division swing through Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Which brings yet another question for the Rockies bullpen … will McGee be the closer when he returns? Carlos Estevez was handed closing duties and proclaimed as the closer when McGee was injured. However, Colorado manager Walt Weiss wouldn’t answer who was the team’s closer when pressed by the media before Monday’s game.
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And don’t forget that Ottavino will be in the discussion for closer when he returns as well.
It’s about to get very interesting in the Colorado Rockies bullpen.