Earlier this afternoon, Colorado Rockies called up veteran first baseman Matt Adams up from their alternate training site.
In corresponding moves, the Rockies optioned outfielder Sam Hilliard to the alternate training site and, to accommodate for Adams on the 40-man roster, they designated right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau for assignment.
The move raised some eyebrows, particularly from fans, and not for Hilliard being sent down, since he started the season hitting .108/.154/.324, and striking in more than half of his at-bats (19 strikeouts in 37 plate appearances) but for calling up Adams.
Why didn’t the Rockies call up somebody like Greg Bird, Connor Joe, or even Colton Welker?
Black was asked that question today before the Rockies start their four-game series with Arizona tonight.
Here’s what he had to say about it.
"“I think Matt, performance-wise, was outperforming those guys,” said Black. “That’s the word that we got. This, again, goes to the evalutation process and the communication each and every day about who’s playing well, who’s not, who’s swinging great. Those things all come into play so I think, basically, based strictly on performance and Matt was swinging the bat very well.“I know he homered four or five times in the alt-site games (and he was) hitting well over .300. His at-bats were great, the bat speed, all of those things you critique. I think he was the best guy (for the job).”"
So how are those other guys playing since they were not chosen and Adams was? We asked Black that question.
"“Welker was with us for a week on the taxi squad so he didn’t play (for that week),” said Black. “He’s back there now playing. He has gone each and every game, like 1-for-4 with a with a base hit. Adams was hitting for power.“Connor Joe missed about a week to 10 days before he got back from the action. He had a situation where he had to go home (due to a death in the family) so there was a period of time where he didn’t even play.“And, you know, Bird (is continuing) to get back in really good baseball shape. His at-bats have improved since spring training."
He told us more about what he has seen from Bird recently.
"“What he’s showing the alternate camp is what he showed in spring training,” said Black. “(He showed us a) selective, pretty good professional at bat, where he’s swinging at strikes, taking balls. Physically, he’s getting the stamina that he needs to play. You know, he hadn’t played in a couple of years (since 2019). He’s got to get back really into playing shape. And I think, overall, he’s accomplished some things on the on the physical side that he wanted to accomplish. And we’re seeing that so good for him.”"
Black said too that he wants Welker to see everyday playing time so he thinks that it will be best if he gets everyday playing time in the minors (likely Albuquerque) and not be sitting on the MLB bench.
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Adams, 32, has spent parts of nine seasons in the majors with a career slash line of .259/.307/.467. He has primarily played first base but he has played some in the outfield, as recently as 2018.
He signed with the Rockies at the end of March after, according to him today when he spoke with the media, he received little interest on the free-agent market.
So when the Rockies got in contact with him, he said he was happy to work out a deal. He said that he has some friends in the game that used to play for the Rockies and they had “nothing but great things to say” about the organization.
Adams said that he had started “three or four games” in left field at the alternate training site. He also said that since they are playing other teams in the alternate training site (the Padres, Dodgers, and D’Backs mentioned specifically), he has seen “just under 45 at-bats” at the alternate site.
Black said that he will primarily be used as “an element of danger off the bench” but he will occasionally spell C.J. Cron at first base to start and he may even start “a game or two” in left field for the Rockies.
The Rockies also just announced that reliever Yency Almonte has been placed on the 10-day IL with a right hand contusion, which he suffered on Wednesday after trying to field the liner in his relief appearance against San Francisco.
Right-handed pitcher Justin Lawrence, who was on the Rockies taxi squad for the road trip, takes his place on the roster. If he pitches in the series, it will be his first ever appearance in the major leagues.