Colorado Rockies fans will get their first look at Kyle Freeland in 2021 on Tuesday night.
After suffering a left shoulder strain in a spring training outing on March 23, Kyle Freeland will make his first start of the season on Tuesday against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Freeland was on the lineup card when it was announced on Tuesday afternoon, culminating what had been rumored for days as the timeline for his return from the 10-day injured list.
To make room on the active roster, the Rockies sent reliever Lucas Gilbreath to Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday night following Colorado’s 3-2 series-opening win over the Mets.
So what can Colorado Rockies fans expect from Kyle Freeland on Tuesday night against the Mets?
The left-hander made two Triple-A starts in preparation for his season debut, throwing 66 pitches in a four-inning outing where he allowed two hits and one run against El Paso on May 15. On May 20, Freeland threw 79 pitches against Oklahoma City, also allowing two hits and one run.
In his combined two outings, Freeland struck out four and walked two while Triple-A batters hit .118 against him.
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Based on his pitch counts in Triple-A, Freeland should be able to at least equal the number of pitches he threw in his final Isotopes start against the Mets.
Freeland’s return means that the Rockies will have to shuffle the rotation, which could mean that Chi Chi Gonzalez will serve in a long relief role, joining Jhoulys Chacin as long relievers.
Last season, Freeland posted a 4.33 ERA in 70.2 innings as he bounced back from a disastrous 2019 campaign when his ERA jumped to 6.73 in 22 starts.
We’ll have updates from Colorado manager Bud Black on Freeland’s status and outlook for the game below after his pregame press conference. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Black said it was “a good feeling” to have Freeland back on the mound, but was quick to give credit to Gonzalez for the solid pitching he’s displayed in the rotation so far this season (4.54 ERA and FIP in 41.2 innings pitched.
"“He pitched well, but it’s good to get Kyle back,” Black said. “He’s such a big part of this group, from a leadership standpoint and a competitor. I think the rest of the group feeds off that.”"
Black did confirm that, for now, Gonzalez would be a part of the bullpen.