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Almonte called up, gets key outs in MLB debut

After hitting go-ahead HR Wednesday, McMahon optioned to get regular playing time
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Righty pitcher Yency Almonte, the Rockies' No. 9 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, knew the waiting, striving and physical pain could be taxing if one allows it to be. So last July 4, he pinned a tweet:

"Don't rush anything to happen. Take it day by day and allow it to happen on its own"

View Full Game Coverage

DENVER -- Righty pitcher Yency Almonte, the Rockies' No. 9 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, knew the waiting, striving and physical pain could be taxing if one allows it to be. So last July 4, he pinned a tweet:

"Don't rush anything to happen. Take it day by day and allow it to happen on its own"

View Full Game Coverage

Tweet from @showtimealmonte: Don't rush anything to happen. Take it day by day and allow it to happen on its own

Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, Almonte's introduction to the Major Leagues with the Rockies happened really fast.

The Rockies summoned Almonte, 24, from Triple-A Albuquerque as an extra pitcher to help a gassed bullpen. The club optioned left-handed-hitting infielder Ryan McMahon -- a day after his game-turning, three-run pinch-hit homer against the Mets Wednesday night -- to Albuquerque for consistent playing time.

It's not clear how long Almonte will be here, since the Rockies are expected to call up a position player for Friday's opener of three games against the Marlins. But Almonte was needed in Thursday's 6-4 win over the Mets.

With runners at first and third with no outs in the eighth and a three-run lead, Almonte not only entered the game; he thrived. He forced a Wilmer Flores sacrifice fly and worked Devin Mesoraco into an inning-ending double play.

"Real different," Almonte said of the high-leverage big league experience.

Video: NYM@COL: Flores skies a sacrifice fly to right field

Almonte displayed a fastball, which topped at 96.9 mph twice, on 11 of his 12 pitches. He has a tight slider and a slurve that can be a wipeout pitch when thrown consistently. But catcher Chris Iannetta's repeated fastball calls were consistent with his directive to attack the strike zone.

"I feel like they brought me in today to help out, and I came in a tight situation and got the job done," Almonte said. "I know a lot of guys here have a lot of time in the big leagues and they know what they're doing. I'm just glad I could help."

After being traded twice for Major League talent earlier in his career and struggling through a right elbow nerve issue and a right shoulder impingement earlier this season, Almonte was shocked to receive the call late Wednesday night.

Video: Almonte on getting called up to big leagues

It was late in his native Miami, but Almonte reached his father, Ramon Almonte, who runs a baseball academy there, and a guy who really knows about the frustrating climb -- his brother, Denny Almonte.

A Mariners second-round pick in 2007 as an outfielder, Denny Almonte made it to Triple-A, but suffered a meniscus injury and then a hamstring blowout. After trying to keep the dream alive in independent ball, Denny joined his dad training future players and earned sports agent certification.

Yency Almonte said, "He was like, 'Congratulations, you made it farther than I did. That was my dream, and I'm going to live it through you.' It's pretty much a blessing."

Originally drafted in the 17th round by the Angels in 2012, Almonte was traded to the White Sox for infielder Gordon Beckham before the '15 season, and from the White Sox to the Rockies for pitcher Tommy Kahnle after that season.

With Albuquerque this year, Almonte is 1-4 with a 6.27 ERA in nine starts in a season twice interrupted by disabled list stints. But he went six innings in each of his last two starts, and he was in position to help the Rockies win Thursday.

More action for McMahon
McMahon's homer came in his first at-bat since changing his bat angle in his setup -- an adjustment the coaches spotted on video. For it to take, the left-handed-hitting McMahon will need playing time.

But with the Rockies facing Mets lefty Steven Matz on Thursday and scheduled to face lefty starters for two of the three home games this weekend against the Marlins and most likely two of the three games against the Giants next week, manager Bud Black determined that McMahon would not see many starts in the Majors.

Video: NYM@COL: McMahon drills a pinch-hit 3-run HR to right

McMahon, 23, who is expected to be a key contributor, is departing with some success under his belt. His first two Major League homers came in his last seven at-bats. Wednesday's homer -- the pull shot into the Coors Field bullpen that the Rockies have wanted to see -- came on an 86.5-mph changeup from Mets righty Robert Gsellman.

Black said "much-needed playing time" could help McMahon hone his swing so it can catch up to pitches with more steam. McMahon must stay down at least 10 days unless an injury forces his return.

"It was a good confidence builder," Black said of McMahon's homer. "He got a hold of that high changeup in the middle and hit a ball to right field with some authority. You saw the excitement on Mac's face when he crossed home plate and came into the dugout. That was awesome."

Dunn to begin rehab
Lefty reliever Mike Dunn, who has missed the last 13 games with an upper back injury, said he will join Albuquerque at Fresno on Saturday for an injury rehab assignment.

Dunn has a 9.00 ERA in 23 games, but the back problems occurred during a nine-game scoreless streak. His performance suffered when he kept pitching through the pain.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Yency Almonte