Entering Sunday’s series finale against the New York Yankees and mired in a six-game losing streak, the Colorado Rockies shook up the roster by making some hard but necessary moves.
On Sunday morning, the Colorado Rockies announced that they had recalled pitcher Jeff Hoffman from Triple-A and added pitcher Sam Howard to the 40-man roster. To make room, Colorado optioned starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela to Triple-A and designated Mark Reynolds for assignment.
Senzatela’s demotion comes on the heels of another poor performance, lasting just 1.1 innings against the Yankees on Saturday. It took 60 pitches for him to record four outs and it led to another long day for the Rockies bullpen.
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In his last four starts, Senzatela has allowed five or more runs. It’s part of the reason why Colorado’s rotation has a 8.53 ERA in July.
Reynolds, meanwhile, will likely finish his stints in Colorado with 298 career home runs. So close to a milestone, but the Rockies simply couldn’t wait any longer for the almost-36-year-old Reynolds to get his bat going. Hitting .170/.290/.311 in 135 at-bats this season, Reynolds simply couldn’t provide the pop off the bench the Rockies were hoping to see when they signed him to a minor league contract before spring training.
The Reynolds DFA shows two things. First, the Rockies continue to show they will not let underperforming veterans hold up a roster spot. Mike Dunn and Chris Rusin are already examples of that. Second, it shows that the Rockies aren’t afraid to go with a short bench at the moment. Yes, they’re playing with a designated hitter on Sunday so only two bench spots are available but, if they don’t make another move before starting a series in Washington on Monday, that means the Rockies are putting more emphasis on reinforcing the pitching than having depth off the bench.
Certainly both the bench and bullpen need a boost. However, the inability of Colorado’s starters to go deep into games mean a player like Howard is more important at the moment than a bench spot.
Speaking of Howard, this is his first appearance of 2019 for the Rockies after seeing action in four games last season. Three of those appearances came in September after roster expansion and the 26-year-old southpaw has never thrown more than an inning with the Rockies.
For now, Hoffman is heading to the Colorado bullpen rather than back to the rotation. Colorado doesn’t need a starter until Thursday when they wrap up their four-game series in Washington. With Chad Bettis giving up nine runs over his last 5.1 innings in his long relief/bridge role, Hoffman could well get a chance to throw in this spot against the Yankees or Nationals.
More moves are coming for the Rockies, both on the bench and perhaps with a fifth starter position. Today’s moves were just the start of what Colorado hopes will be a series of transactions that will jumpstart the team back into playoff relevancy.
Something had to happen for the Rockies to shake up this team. On Sunday, it finally did.