NEW YORK — Changes are in the offing for the Rockies’ roster as they opened the so-called second half of the season Friday. A number of moves are pending, and those moves will directly lead to other roster decisions:
— Left fielder and first baseman Ian Desmond worked out Thursday and passed all of the tests. He remained on the 10-day disabled list Friday, but should be close to returning from his right calf strain that put him on the DL on July 3.
“You might see him sooner than you might think,” Black said when asked about Desmond’s progress, an indication that Desmond will not need to go out on a minor-league rehab assignment. “He had a good day yesterday in Denver, working out. We ran him through a number of things that he passed. He hit and ran the bases.”
— When Desmond comes off the DL, the Rockies will have to make a corresponding move, meaning the team will have to send a player to Triple-A Albuquerque. The most likely candidate is reliever Zac Rosscup, who is currently the fourth left-hander in the bullpen.
However, should the Rockies decide they want to keep an eight-man bullpen, the most likely position candidates to be sent down would be utility infielder Pat Valaika, outfielder Raimel Tapia or struggling shortstop Trevor Story.
— Valaika started at short in front of Story on Friday night, though Black said not to read too much into that decision.
“I don’t know if he’s starting ‘ahead’ of Trevor,” Black said. “Pat started last Sunday. He had five RBIs and hit a three-run homer. He did a nice job playing baseball.”
— Blackmon announced that German Marquez will start Monday’s game against San Diego at Coors Field. Tuesday’s starter could be rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela, who pitched 3 ⅔ innings at Triple-A Thursday.
If that is indeed the case, rookie left-hander Kyle Freeland could be either sent to the bullpen or optioned to Triple-A. Such a move would not be a demotion. After all, Freeland threw 8 ⅔ innings of no-hit ball against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday in the final game before the all-star break.
But having Freeland skip a start or two would be part of the Rockies’ overall plan to lighten the load on their young pitchers over the course of the season, as opposed to shutting them down completely. Also, keep in mind that Freeland threw 126 pitches in his near no-hitter against the White Sox.
Senzatela was originally moved to the bullpen to preserve his arm. With Double-A Hartford last year, he threw just 34 ⅔ innings. After two long-relief appearances with the Rockies, his big-league total reached 92 ⅓ innings. His start at Triple-A Thursday night was his first since being optioned July 8.
Footnotes. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who was selected for the All-Star Game but did not play, is still not 100 percent healthy. His groin strain is healing, allowing him to play, and LeMahieu expects to be 100 percent healthy in a few days. … Gerardo Parra hit cleanup Friday night as the Rockies tried to capitalize on his hot streak. Since returning from the DL on July 7, the outfielder was batting 7-for-13 (.538) with three doubles and five RBIs.