Notes: Oberg 'doubtful' for home opener

July 26th, 2020

Rockies right-handed setup man 's back tightness has not subsided to the point that he can throw a bullpen session, which means he is “probably doubtful” for Friday’s home opener against the Padres, manager Bud Black said Sunday.

Oberg, last year’s primary setup man for most of the season and briefly the closer before he underwent surgery for blood clots in his right arm in August, suffered the tightness on his way to Denver for Summer Camp. He threw one inning of an intrasquad game, but his recovery has not been quick, and the Rockies are being cautious.

“He’s back in Denver with the satellite group. He’s going to throw a bullpen tomorrow to see how the back is,” Black said. “The back is still a little troublesome. We’re hoping for some resolution on that moving forward, but it’s been a little bit of a slow recovery from the original soreness.”

Future starters
Black announced that right-handed No. 4 starter will start the opener of a two-game series at Oakland on Tuesday, as expected. Rather than go with a fifth starter, Black will use righty No. 1 starter Germán Márquez on Wednesday.

Márquez held the Rangers to two hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings in a 1-0 loss Friday on Opening Day.

“I think he's one of the best starters in the game, and he's pitching on regular rest,” Black said. “We want to run our best guys out there as often as possible, so often as possible. It just makes baseball sense.”

In the early days of the season, righties Chi Chi González and Jeff Hoffman, considered the prime No. 5 starter competitors, are operating out of the bullpen as potential multi-inning relievers. Also, rookie Ashton Goudeau, who pitched at Double-A Hartford last year, is in the bullpen in a similar role.

It’s all about glove
Garrett Hampson played coy with his home run-saving catch of a Shin-Soo Choo leadoff fly that played a major part in Saturday’s 3-2 win in Texas. Hampson acted as if he didn’t make the catch before letting everyone in on his secret, to the delight of his teammates.

Turns out the pitcher he saved, righty Jon Gray, was just even more delayed in his praise of Hampson.

“He’s pretty focused when he’s on the mound,” Hampson said Sunday. “But I think it was around the fourth inning, he just told me he loved me.”

Turns out Hampson, who says he is 5-foot-11 "in cleats,” has always played as a taller athlete.

“I don't think I can give a number out there on my vertical, but I I did a lot of dunking in high school,” Hampson said. “I haven't jumped in a while, but I played basketball in high school. You know, you get used to jumping every day. I don't know if I could dunk right now, but I’ll give it my best effort.”

Is there a tape endorsement out there?
One of the Rockies’ early intrasquad games brought a comical sight from right-hander Daniel Bard, who on Saturday pitched for the first time in seven years and earned a win for the first time in eight years.

When the Rockies don their purple pinstripes for Friday’s home opener, Bard will have a proper jersey. But the one in this tweet will not soon be forgotten:

Bard explained.

“I don't think anyone knew for sure that I was gonna make the team, and that first outing with it and yeah, [there was a] blank jersey hanging in my locker,” Bard said. “I had a purple jersey with my name because that was the Spring Training jersey. There were no [No.] 52 Bard jerseys in pinstripes.

“So [the blank jersey] was in my locker and I put it on and was getting some laughs, like, ‘Look how important I am.’ I think it was Tyler Kinley, my throwing partner. He goes, ‘Dude, we've got to throw a number on there for you.’ He found the black tape, laid it out and patched it together.

“I wanted to make it look good, but not too good. I was going for laughs from teammates, coaches, whatever, but I didn't know it's gonna go viral like it did.”