With a rejuvenated bullpen following Thursday’s day off, the Rockies made a roster move prior to Friday’s game in St. Louis, selecting the contract of infielder Connor Joe from Triple-A Albuquerque.
To make room for Joe, Colorado optioned right-hander José Mujica to Triple-A.
Joe, who sat out the 2020 season while battling testicular cancer, signed a Minor League deal with Colorado in November. He impressed the Rockies during Spring Training, hitting .368 (14-for-38) with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 25 games.
“He was one of our better performers in the spring -- came into camp ready to go, ready to show us that he could help us,” manager Bud Black said. “It was a tough decision at the end to send him back, but he was on our radar from day one as a guy that could potentially be a bench bat for us, start some games at first, start some games in left.”
This marks Joe’s second big league stint, having played eight games with the Giants in 2019 after making the Opening Day roster.
“In the National League, he can be a contributor, so it worked out,” Black said. “He's here to help us this weekend, and we'll see how this goes moving forward. He's on the 40-man roster, he has some options, so he's in the mix, which is great.”
Trevor Story’s season didn’t start out the way he had hoped, as the shortstop slashed .245/.286/.340 through his first 14 games. He entered Friday's series opener against the Cardinals with a .356/.437/.695 slash line through his past 17 contests, riding a seven-game hitting streak during which he’s batted .440 (11-for-25) with three doubles, one triple, two home runs, seven RBIs, five walks and three strikeouts
“I felt like I was doing some things good early, but not really getting the payout for it, but I wasn't as consistent as I wanted to be early,” Story said. “I think that's just been the key. I found my balance a little more in the last week or so and I’m just really tuning into that. When I feel balanced and I feel like I can see the ball, I can take care of it when I need to. I guess that's the biggest difference from a consistency standpoint.”
Black said there are typically two “tells” with Story that tell the manager how his All-Star shortstop is feeling: His performance against fastballs and his level of patience at the plate.
“If you can see good swings against the fastball, that's something that tells me that he's locked in,” Black said. “Whether he's fouling them off or making hard contact and he's on time, that's a good thing. And if he's taking his walks, not chasing the breaking ball out of the zone or trying to do too much to carry the team; I think Trev feels a little bit of that at times. The last 10 days or so, there's been a poise and a calmness to his at-bats.”
• Antonio Senzatela (groin strain) threw a bullpen session on Friday, and he reported no problems. Black said the righty “threw fine and feels good,” moving him one step closer to a return from the injured list.
• Kyle Freeland (left shoulder strain) and Yency Almonte (right hand contusion) both pitched in a simulated game on Friday afternoon in St. Louis, throwing to Brendan Rodgers (right hamstring strain), Elias Díaz and Alan Trejo, who each took about five at-bats.
Freeland and Rodgers could be sent to Arizona if they report no problems Saturday, setting them up to join Triple-A Albuquerque sometime next week.
• C.J. Cron was scratched from the lineup Friday night with lower back tightness. Matt Adams got the start at first base in Cron’s place.