SAN DIEGO — Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich fully expects Scott Oberg to be healthy and ready for spring training. That’s good news for a Rockies bullpen that will be looking to see who will handle the final innings for the team in 2020.
During his Winter Meetings gathering with Colorado Rockies media members (including Rox Pile) on Monday night, Bridich said that he expects Oberg to be fully ready for spring training after a 2019 that included his season ending in mid-August with axillary artery thrombosis (blood clots) in his right arm.
It was the second time in his career that Oberg’s season (also 2016) had been cut short by blood clots and subsequent surgeries to try to alleviate the issue. It’s also the second time that blood thinners have been prescribed in order to keep the clotting at bay.
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The 29-year-old right-hander went 6-1 last season with a 2.25 ERA in 56 innings spanning 49 games. He also nailed down five saves, including one in his final appearance of the season in an August 16 win in Miami.
Oberg was named as the team’s closer in early August and had just two weeks in the role before being forced to the injured list. Now the question becomes this: Will a reportedly healthy Oberg slide back into the closer role when the Rockies gather in Scottsdale in February to begin spring training?
But before that can even happen, the Rockies have to feel completely confident in Oberg’s health. As of right now, Bridich is confident that Oberg will show up in Arizona ready to be a big part of the team’s bullpen plans in 2020.
"“I don’t have any reason to think otherwise,” Bridich said on Monday night when asked about Oberg being ready for spring training. “I talked to him recently as well and he said his throwing is coming along. He’s supposed to get off blood thinners this week and he should begin throwing. So that’s great.“We are hopeful that his surgery fixed the issue. HIs surgery should hopefully fix this for the rest of his career.”"
Oberg’s coronation as closer heading into the campaign, however, certainly isn’t etched in stone. Bridich has also expressed his faith in a bounceback season from former Colorado closer Wade Davis after a horrific 2019 that saw him log an ERA of 11.10 in 24.1 innings at Coors Field.
"“This is not the first time that Wade has ever struggled, but maybe it was to this degree,” Bridich explained. “He’s bounced back before, and he can do it again. If he’s pitching in the ninth inning, great. If not pitching in the ninth inning, and we have somebody else who is pitching in the ninth inning, OK, great.”"
That “somebody else” could well be Oberg, and all signs are pointing toward a healthy return. That could be some of the most welcome news for the Rockies heading into the New Year.