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Freeland visits Colorado Special Olympics teams

Murphy placed on paternity leave; Dahl resumes hitting in cage
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- The Rockies just finished up a stretch of 22 games in 23 days. Over the course of a big league season, MLB players don't get too many days off.

But when Colorado starting pitcher Kyle Freeland looked at this week's schedule, he realized he had the chance to do something special.

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SEATTLE -- The Rockies just finished up a stretch of 22 games in 23 days. Over the course of a big league season, MLB players don't get too many days off.

But when Colorado starting pitcher Kyle Freeland looked at this week's schedule, he realized he had the chance to do something special.

View Full Game Coverage

The Rockies arrived in Seattle close to 1 a.m. following their 1-0 win over the Giants in Denver Wednesday night. Nonetheless, Freeland sacrificed a few hours of sleep to make it out to this week's 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

"A bit of a quick turnaround," he admitted. "But it wasn't that bad."

Freeland was out of bed by 8 a.m. on Thursday morning and made it to the University of Washington to spend some time with four of the local teams Colorado sent to the Games -- soccer, bowling, tennis and track. Freeland gave pep talks, practiced celebration dances, took photos and even pitched to a few of the younger kids during his time at the Games.

"Truly incredible athletes," Freeland said. "It's really amazing watching them do what they do and how similar to us, how committed they are to their sport."

One tennis player and Rockies fan wasn't shy about engaging in a little trash talk with Freeland, who has gone 8-6 with a 3.25 ERA this season.

"Yeah, I probably serve harder than you throw," she told him.

The excitement of having Freeland in the stands started to have a noticeable impact on her game as her team won a gold.

"You could see her just light up on the court and almost start dancing as she was about to serve," said Georgia David, Volunteer, Family Services and Athlete Leadership Manager at Special Olympics Colorado.

"We were trying to get her to calm down so she could focus on the game but she was particularly very excited and was super stoked to meet him post-match, and post-gold medal match which was even better."

Heading into the 4x100 relay, the only athlete of the 29 Colorado athletes who had not earned a medal was set to compete. Freeland shared one last pep talk with the group before they competed.

"Pull for your teammates, work hard and have as much fun as you can," Freeland told them.

When it came time to start running, the athletes were pulling for more than just their own teammates.

"We're doing this for the Rockies," one athlete yelled just before the race.

The team clinched bronze in what David called a very competitive heat of eight states, meaning every Colorado athlete at the games medaled. Freeland was jumping up and down on the sidelines and cheering them on the whole time.

"I'm so happy for our athletes that they were able to kind of show their stuff to him," David said. "I think they all really admire what he does and his athleticism and they were really excited to show off their own."

It's moments like those that made the outing worth losing a few extra hours of sleep.

"Not a hard thing to get out of bed for," Freeland said.

Murphy away from club
Catcher Tom Murphy left the club Friday to fly to Denver to be with his wife, Lindsay, who was set to give birth. Manager Bud Black said it's possible the club will call up another player this weekend. Murphy is set to rejoin the club in Denver on Tuesday.

Dahl back in cage
Outfielder David Dahl, who was hitting .275 with four home runs in 32 games when he suffered a broken right foot on May 30, has begun hitting in the batting cage in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Via Twitter, Dahl wrote, "Missed that sound.

Tweet from @ddahl21: Missed that sound 🙌 pic.twitter.com/geocCdGoO6

David Gottlieb is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.

Colorado Rockies, Kyle Freeland