The Colorado Rockies activated starting pitcher Chad Kuhl (right flexor strain) off of the 15-day IL before the start of the club’s four-game series with the New York Mets to start their three-city, 10-game, 11-day road trip. To activate him, the Rockies had to make a move on their 26-man roster but not their 40-man roster … but they still made a 40-man roster move.
As the corresponding move, the Rockies designated right-handed reliever Robert Stephenson for assignment.
Rockies: Chad Kuhl activated, Robert Stephenson DFA’d
The Rockies are hoping that Chad Kuhl will return to his former ways as he struggled before hitting the IL. Through his first 14 starts of the season, Kuhl had a 3.49 ERA but since then (the beginning of July), Kuhl made six starts with an ERA of 10.17. Reliever Robert Stephenson has struggled mightily in his recent appearances as well.
The veteran right-handed reliever has appeared in 45 games for the Rockies and he has an ERA of 6.04. Stephenson had only allowed one earned run in 11 appearances from July 3 through July 29. Since then, Stephenson has made nine appearances and he had an ERA of 10.24. Batters were hitting .378/.404/.711 in that span.
Despite his struggles, it’s a bit of a peculiar move for a few reasons.
In the club’s bullpen, four relievers had with minor league options. Justin Lawrence is the one who was most recently called up but he only has one option left for the year (players can only be between the majors and minors five times per season, which is a new rule for 2022, and he has already done it four times). The others are Lucas Gilbreath (who is the club’s best left-handed relief option), Austin Gomber (who the club wants to be a starter), and Jake Bird.
The move leaves it where the club has 39 players on their 40-man roster and, soon, there could be more players that leave the 40-man. Antonio Senzatela is injured and done for the year. Kris Bryant is seemingly going to be done for the year (although this is not definite). If reliever Alex Colomé is done for the year too with elbow discomfort, he could be sent to the 60-day IL as well.
These spots could be beneficial for September call-ups next week. However, the Rockies will only be able to carry 28 players on their active roster in September, after it was a 40-player maximum before the 2020 season.