NEW YORK — The Rockies’ second-half pitching plan is coming into place, and it appears that rookie left-hander Kyle Freeland will get bumped from the rotation, for the short-term.
Though Manager Bud Black would not publicly confirm the plan before Saturday’s game, indications are that rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela will start Tuesday’s home game against San Diego. That would leave Freeland out of the rotation, despite the fact that he threw 8 ⅓ innings of no-hit baseball last Sunday.
The move is not a demotion for Freeland, but rather a way to give him a rest during his first season in the major leagues and preserve his arm.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I feel good and strong,” Freeland said Saturday. “My arm feels really good.”
It’s likely that Freeland will be used in the bullpen as an emergency reliever, enabling the Rockies to cut his work load. He could then be sent down to Triple-A Albuquerque for a start or two to prepare him to rejoin the rotation. Senzatela followed a similar course of action as he prepared to rejoin the rotation.
Freeland has thrown 107 ⅓ innings this season. He pitched a career-high 162 innings last year pitching for Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque.
Spark plug. For the second game in a row, Gerardo Parra hit cleanup. With Mark Reynolds cooling off and Carlos Gonzalez mired in a season-long slump, Black needs to find a run producer for the No. 4 hole.
Since being reinstated from the disabled list June 7, Parra has hit .529 (9-for-17) with three doubles and six RBIs. He’s batting .477 with runners in scoring position this season, and is 5-for-7 since coming off the DL.
“I’m fine with wherever the manager wants me in the lineup,” Parra said. “I just want to help the team and play baseball, because I love it.”
Parra, a natural outfielder, started at first base Saturday, a position he has said in the past he would rather not play.
“It’s not always easy for me to play first base, and I don’t like it too much,” he said. “But I’m happy to help my team out.”
Reynolds, the usual first baseman, went 0-for-4 and struck out three times in Colorado’s 14-2 loss to the Mets on Friday night. Since July 1, Reynolds is batting .171, with no home runs and he has struck out 20 times in 35 at-bats.
Desmond’s status. The Rockies had originally intended for left fielder and first baseman Ian Desmond to come off the 10-day disabled list Saturday. However, rain before Friday night’s game prevented Desmond from doing all of the pregame drills the Rockies wanted him to run through as a final test.
Black said Desmond would probably be in the lineup Sunday for the final game of the three-game set against the Mets.