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Freeland making case for Majors rotation spot

Story progressing in surgery recovery; CarGo out of lineup Wednesday to rest
MLB.com

DENVER -- While Rockies No. 3 prospect Jeff Hoffman waits in the wings at Triple-A Albuquerque, another prospect remains just as close: left-hander Kyle Freeland.

Ranked the No. 8 prospect in Colorado's system, Freeland has advanced quickly and is making a case, along with Hoffman, to fill the injured Tyler Chatwood's rotation spot.

Full Game Coverage

DENVER -- While Rockies No. 3 prospect Jeff Hoffman waits in the wings at Triple-A Albuquerque, another prospect remains just as close: left-hander Kyle Freeland.

Ranked the No. 8 prospect in Colorado's system, Freeland has advanced quickly and is making a case, along with Hoffman, to fill the injured Tyler Chatwood's rotation spot.

Full Game Coverage

Although Freeland sports a 4.61 ERA in nine starts with Albuquerque, manager Glenallen Hill sees him as a "very good pitcher" so far at Triple-A.

Freeland and Hoffman have deep ties, dating back to playing together in the Cape Cod League, a collegiate wooden bat league. The two played for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in 2013, when Hoffman was named the top prospect by scouts.

"It was definitely a booster for both of us," Freeland said. "It was his second year there and my first year. We both battled back and forth for who could have the better start and go [ahead of the other in the Draft]."

Freeland and Hoffman would go on to be selected back-to-back in the 2014 Draft. The Rockies selected Freeland eighth, while the Blue Jays took Hoffman one pick later. Colorado acquired Hoffman last July in the blockbuster Troy Tulowitzki trade.

Freeland pitched well to start the season at Double-A Hartford, with a 3.87 ERA in 14 starts. He pitched alongside Rockies rookie Tyler Anderson, who saw similarities between the two college left-handers.

"Similar mentality, I'd say," Anderson said. "He's pretty aggressive and comes right at you, probably even more than I do. But different stuff for sure. Where I'm stiff, he's smooth."

Freeland had his best performance of the season on Tuesday, with three strikeouts, two walks and six hits in seven shutout innings.

Worth noting
• Rookie shortstop Trevor Story is making steps in his recovery from a torn UCL in his left thumb. He is set to get the sutures removed on Friday and have a smaller cast put on his hand, which will allow him to do more workouts.

Story has been resting since his surgery, and he has been adapting to life without the use of his left thumb. Simple tasks like changing clothes have become much more challenging, although he's learned to tie his shoe with his left index and middle finger.

"That first five days to a week was tough," Story said. "You don't realize how much you use your thumb. You have to survive without it. It's tough."

• Rockies manager Walt Weiss sais that right fielder Carlos Gonzalez should be back to his regular schedule on Friday. He was out of the starting lineup Wednesday in part because his ankle injury flared up the last time he played a day game after a night game, and he ran the bases a lot on Tuesday night.

"I'm looking at this as that last piece before we take the reins off," Weiss said. "We've got the off-day tomorrow, so you're looking at back-to-back days. Then I think it's full-go."

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colorado Rockies