Time on the 10-day injured list with a right hand contusion has given Rockies righty reliever Yency Almonte time to work through some of the mechanical issues that have led to a 12.46 ERA in 11 appearances.
Part of Almonte’s struggles may have come from frequent use in the season’s first four weeks, but high walks and the inability to escape trouble were signals he needed work. Pitching coach Steve Foster and bullpen coach Darrell Scott have worked with Almonte through side sessions, and he has thrown two simulated games. It’s possible the Rockies will activate him for Sunday’s series finale at St. Louis, the day he is eligible, or shortly thereafter.
The Rockies need Almonte, 27, to regain his form of last year, when he pitched to a 2.93 ERA in 24 appearances and became a trusted bullpen member.
“He’s got a really good slider; we’ve got to make sure that that's in play again, to the quality that it was last year,” Rockies manager Bud Black said Saturday. “And what we've seen these last couple simulated games, it looks really good.
“You've noticed that his walk rate is a little bit higher this year than last year,” Black said. "We got to get that fastball on the plate. He's got a two-seam fastball with very good movement and he was missing with it a lot this year. There were some bad counts through this year, that put him in jeopardy of having a bad result.”
Injured list updates
The Rockies will check with left-handed starter Kyle Freeland (left shoulder strain) and second baseman Brendan Rodgers (right hamstring strain) on Saturday before announcing their next roster move. Both have not played in a Major League game this year. If they check out healthy after participating in a simulated game on Saturday, it’s like they will continue their rehab at the team’s facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., before reporting for a Minor League rehab assignment.
Joe appreciates where he is
The Rockies called up Connor Joe from the alternate training site on Friday. Saturday’s start at first base was the sixth of his Major League career and his first since April 2, 2019, for the Giants.
But, in between, Joe was diagnosed with testicular cancer while in the Dodgers’ organization last spring, and spent last year recovering and rehabbing. He signed with the Rockies during the offseason and made an impression in Spring Training.
“I feel like I'm in a different place, different stage in my life,” Joe said. “Obviously, going through cancer, going through the cancer treatments, really opened my eyes. This go-around, I feel a lot more mentally prepared for this opportunity. And then it also just gave me a lens of gratitude and appreciation for where I'm at, and the opportunities in front of me.”