Parsons joins Rockies' bullpen in St. Louis

August 23rd, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- Right-handed reliever is where he wanted to be, having been called up by the Rockies on Thursday, even if he had to take a circuitous route.

Parsons, who turns 27 on Sept. 6, was 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA in the Majors with the Braves before being displaced when the team made a flurry of Trade Deadline deals. The Rockies claimed him off waivers Monday and optioned him to Triple-A Albuquerque. But not for long.

“I did not pitch for Albuquerque; I went there, threw a bullpen, then the next day the manager said, ‘You’re out. Go to the big leagues,” said Parson, taking the active roster spot of lefty starter Kyle Freeland, who was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain. “It’s been a long 24 hours -- in Sacramento [with the Albuquerque club], catch an 11:55 flight, got here at 9 this morning. I was pretty tired.”

A starter most of his career, Parsons debuted last season with one game for the Braves and bounced between Triple-A Gwinnett (2-3, 2.86 in 27 games) and Atlanta in his first year as strictly a reliever.

The Rockies hope they have uncovered a gem, similar to what happened late in 2014 when they claimed lefty Chris Rusin off waivers from the Cubs. Rusin had solid starting and relief appearances for the Rockies, including a standout 2017 (5-1 record, 2.65 ERA in 60 games) before injuries curtailed his participation the last two years.

Rockies manager Bud Black is excited to evaluate Parsons, who has the mix of a ground-ball-oriented starter (sinker, slider, split-finger fastball).

“We’re just getting to know this fellow, but we know that there’s a Minor League starter in there, too, but this year you’re going to see a relief pitcher,” Black said. “We’ve got some decisions to make on our roster moving forward with some starters that have to come on board here. More than anything, it’s exciting to get a guy in his mid 20s with a good arm, with some great scouting reports behind him, that helps us in the future.”

Gray opts for surgery

Righty Jon Gray (11-8, 3.84 ERA) has opted to have surgery Friday on his left foot stress fracture. The surgery will be performed in Denver by Dr. Josh Metzel. Righty Scott Oberg (6-1, 2.25) is scheduled to see St. Louis-based vascular specialist Dr. Robert Thompson on this trip.

Same, but different

Freeland said his left groin injury is similar to one he endured in 2017, when he was out only for the 10-day period, so he missed just one start. Of course, then the Rockies would end up in the postseason. Now, or at least going into Thursday, the Rockies were 11 games below .500. Freeland said with the exception of being on stairs, his groin was not nagging him Thursday.

“I definitely want to get back as quickly as possible but I want to make sure that when I’m ready to go, I’m at 100 percent and there’s no question about it,” Freeland said. “You don’t want to go out there and first inning you feel it pull again, then you’ve got to burn your bullpen and put me back on [the IL].”