Colorado Rockies: Rotation possibilities with Jeff Hoffman optioned
By Kevin Henry
The Colorado Rockies made an interesting move prior to Sunday’s game in Los Angeles, setting a cascade of questions into motions about the rotation moving forward into a three-game series in San Francisco against the Giants.
Jeff Hoffman was scheduled to start on Tuesday in San Francisco. However, the Colorado Rockies optioned him to Triple-A on Sunday and recalled utility man Garrett Hampson, who drew the start on Sunday in center field against the Dodgers.
Hampson’s start was part of an effort by the Rockies to give a day off to Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon and Ian Desmond, three players who have been keys to Colorado’s dynamic offense but also needed a break after a long series at home against San Diego over the weekend and a pair of games at Chavez Ravine.
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So now what happens to Colorado’s rotation with Hoffman optioned and his spot open on Tuesday? Here are some of the possibilities.
First, it’s possible that Hoffman is recalled in time for Tuesday’s start. The Rockies could recall him and send a position player such as Pat Valaika or Hampson to Triple-A. Colorado manager Bud Black may have wanted Hampson in uniform for Sunday’s game just to give a rest to his starters.
However, the only way this could happen is if Hoffman was brought back because of an injury and he takes that injured player’s place on the roster. Otherwise, he has to be in the minors for 10 days.
Second, this could be a chance for Chi Chi Gonzalez to make an appearance. The 27-year-old right-hander has 13 career Major League starts under his belt, with the last coming for the Texas Rangers in 2016. He currently has a 4-5 mark with a 4.66 ERA in 14 start for the Albuquerque Isotopes this season and opponents are hitting .282 against him. As Nick Groke of The Athletic noted on Twitter, the last start for Gonzalez in Triple-A would give him time to be rested and ready for a Tuesday start in San Francisco.
Gonzalez is currently not a member of Colorado’s 40-man roster. However, he could be easily added as the Rockies currently have an open spot.
Speaking of the 40-man roster, Ryan Castellani is a part of that and would normally be considered a possibility for the spot start on Tuesday. However, he’s currently on Albuquerque’s disabled list after reportedly having surgery on his right elbow.
And what about Kyle Freeland? He started Sunday’s game for Albuquerque in Reno and wouldn’t be ready for a start in San Francisco on Tuesday … even though his start was shorter than expected as he was ejected in the third inning.
Could the Rockies go with a bullpen day on Tuesday? It’s possible that Chad Bettis could get the start and be followed by Jesus Tinoco and others.
There are plenty of possibilities for the Rockies on what could happen on Tuesday in San Francisco. We’ll keep you apprised of the latest here and on our Twitter page.
Update: Colorado manager Bud Black has reportedly ruled out a bullpen game and Freeland as a possibility, narrowing the field of options considerably.