DENVER – The Colorado Rockies made it to July without changing their starting five. That’s quite the achievement and telling of an organization that’s starting to grasp an adept level of pitching development.
That same organization knows development isn’t linear and they proved it by sending down their future and former ace Jon Gray to Triple-A earlier this week. In doing so, the club has an opening on Tuesday and may have another one later in the week.
That’s right, the number of starters which has just been five up to this point could even balloon to seven by Friday night.
First, Gray’s spot. For that, Antonio Senzatella will jump from Triple-A into the rotation.
The 23-year-old right-hander will get recalled tomorrow and make his first Major League start of the year. He’s already been on the roster this season made 10 relief appearances between Opening Day and May 2, allowing 23 hits and 13 runs (12 earned) in 17.1 innings of work.
He worked around a groin injury in Triple-A which even cost him some DL time but went 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA (37.2 IP, 9 ER) in eight starts allowed. Last season he was 3-0 vs. San Francisco in five games, three starts, posting a 4.24 ERA. Over his career he is 9-3 with an ERA of 5.28.
Bud Black mentioned that the development of his secondary stuff was one of his main focuses in Albuquerque. Senzatela was massively important last season and the Rockies have repeatedly said that the best version of their club features “Senza” in some form or fashion no matter the role.
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Senzatela most recently threw 90 pitches in 7.2 innings of work on Thursday where he didn’t allow a run, and surrendered just three hits and a walk against the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate.
While the Tuesday starter against the Giants is known, the first pitcher of the series in Seattle over the weekend is a question mark. Chad Bettis left yesterday’s start against the Dodgers early with a “hot spot.” You can read more about that injury here.
Though Bettis said that he feels as though the injury is progressing the last thing he wanted to do was hurt the team and force the bullpen to go six innings again.
That leaves newcomer Yency Almonte as a potential spot starter. Almonte said that he is still stretched out to start and is willing to help the team in any way.
Almonte was starting in the minors before joining the Colorado bullpen a few weeks ago so that might be the option that the Rockies go with.