Kyle Freeland temporarily removed from the rotation
As suspected, Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland will be temporarily removed from the starting rotation to limit his workload.
According to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post in this article, Kyle Freeland‘s outing of three innings out of the bullpen is not surprising as he will be removed from the starting rotation, in the interim, to give him a bit of a rest. This is coming after his outing on July 9, in the final Rockies game before the All-Star break, when Freeland nearly pitched a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on 126 pitches before being pulled after he allowed a hit with one out in the ninth inning to White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera.
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Freeland in 2017 and the past
In his rookie season, the Denver native has gone 9-7 with a 3.67 ERA in 19 games, 18 of which have been starts. In 110 1/3 innings of work, he’s struck out 69 and walked 42 and he has an ERA+ of 137.
In past seasons in the minor leagues, he has never pitched than the 162 innings he pitched in 2016 between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque. Before 2016, his highest inning total in the minor leagues was in 2015 when he pitched 46 2/3 innings split between Rookie-ball Grand Junction and Advanced-A Modesto.
Options to replace Freeland
Saunders suspects that Antonio Senzatela will be replace Freeland in the rotation when needed. Senzatela, like Freeland, was sent to the bullpen for emergency situations. Senzatela, however, was then sent to the minor leagues to get used to starting again. As Saunders said, Freeland will likely face the same as Senzatela.
With both Freeland and Senzatela being rookies, it’s not surprising that manager Bud Black, who’s a former pitcher and former pitching coach, is cognizant of his pitcher’s limitations. Also, he is very cognizant that if they only spend two weeks in the minor leagues, the Rockies will get an extra year of control of them through having reduced their MLB service time (which is best explained in this 2015 article on MLB.com regarding Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant). It is a smart move for the Rockies to do this for three reasons:
1. It will keep their innings down and they will be used the most when it counts the most (in September and October). Their innings will not be sky-high by then.
2. It will add an extra year that they will be in a Rockies uniform
3. The reduced workload will reduce the chance of injury.
Next: Rockies interested in J.D. Martinez
From a Rockies and a Rockies fan’s perspective, that is all you can ask for.