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Marquez tabbed to fill Gray's rotation spot

MLB.com

DENVER -- The anticipation of who would temporarily take Jon Gray's rotation spot ended on Monday, when right-hander German Marquez strolled through the clubhouse. Marquez, the Rockies' No. 4 prospect, will start Tuesday's game against the Nats on a 90-pitch threshold, manager Bud Black said.

Because of that limit, Black indicated that long relievers Jordan Lyles and Chris Rusin could contribute on Tuesday.

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DENVER -- The anticipation of who would temporarily take Jon Gray's rotation spot ended on Monday, when right-hander German Marquez strolled through the clubhouse. Marquez, the Rockies' No. 4 prospect, will start Tuesday's game against the Nats on a 90-pitch threshold, manager Bud Black said.

Because of that limit, Black indicated that long relievers Jordan Lyles and Chris Rusin could contribute on Tuesday.

View Full Game Coverage

Marquez made his first Opening Day roster this year but was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque in the season's first week to stretch his innings, with the big league rotation solidified and no immediate need for a long reliever. In his last outing, on Thursday for Albuquerque, Marquez struck out eight, including six straight, over 4 2/3 innings on a 75-pitch limit. In 10 innings over three outings, he has given up three earned runs on eight hits and fanned 18.

"It was a little hard, because I had been throwing a lot, so when I was there, I found my release point," Marquez said about having to be stretched out again after resting 11 days between his final Cactus League start and first for Albuquerque.

Marquez made his Major League debut as a September callup in 2016 and contributed 20 2/3 innings over six outings (three starts) while compiling a 5.23 ERA and 15 strikeouts. He complements his four-seamer -- which averaged 93.5 mph and touched 97, according to Statcast™ -- with a downward changeup, a curveball that he throws often and for consistent strikes.

Marquez didn't win a rotation spot out of Spring Training, but the Rockies liked him enough to keep him in the bullpen. Now, with Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela, the Rockies have three rookies in their rotation while Gray recovers from a stress fracture in his left foot, sustained on April 13.

"We knew at some point [Marquez] was going to come back to us and pitch for us," Black said. "That's the nature of the long baseball season. He went down, got three outings in, pitched very well, was throwing strikes, his stuff was good."

Acquired with reliever Jake McGee in the trade that sent Corey Dickerson to the Rays, Marquez was the 2016 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year for Double-A Hartford, where he went 9-6 with a 2.85 ERA over 21 starts before being promoted to Triple-A.

• Hartford prospects Ryan McMahon and Yency Almonte were named the Eastern League's Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, becoming Hartford's first pair to sweep the weekly honors.

McMahon, a corner infielder and the Rockies' No. 8 prospect, hit .440 with two doubles, one triple, one home run, 10 RBIs, four runs scored, two stolen bases, four walks and a .720 slugging percentage in six games. Almonte, the No. 16 prospect, tossed seven shutout innings with a franchise-best 10 strikeouts and no walks in his lone start last week.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Colorado Rockies, German Marquez