Freeland nearing return from IL 

No. 2 prospect Rolison makes Triple-A debut

May 23rd, 2021

DENVER -- Don’t be fooled by the TBA still listed as the Rockies’ starter on Tuesday against the Mets.

“I’m ready,” said left-hander , fresh from a two-start rehab assignment for Triple-A Albuquerque. “I’m excited to get back out there.”

Roster red tape and just plain jinx avoidance prevent manager Bud Black from making the announcement already. But the expected matchup – Freeland against the holder of two National League Cy Young Awards the last three years, Jacob deGrom, himself coming off a rehab assignment for right side tightness.

But the Rockies are excited about Freeland, who came off solid work in 2020 and was expecting more advancement before he sustained a left shoulder strain in a March 23 Spring Training game.

In the strangest twist of a difficult season, the Rockies went into Sunday trying to overtake the D-backs and push them into the National League West cellar despite a starting rotation worthy of a contender under the standards of Coors Field. They entered Sunday with a 4.67 overall starter ERA. But at Coors, that starter mark was 3.40, and in the 13 starts (home and road) leading into Sunday it was 2.74.

“I think the starters are throwing great, and we’re excited to get Freeland back here pretty soon,” said fellow lefty starter Austin Gomber. “We’re in a good spot and we’re looking to build off this going forward.”

Freeland has made two appearances at Citi Field. Coming out of the 2017 All-Star break, he threw three scoreless relief innings on July 15. In his only start, he gave up two first-inning runs but nothing else in his seven total innings as he earned a win, 3-2, on May 6, 2018.

A debut that was good, until it turned bad
Lefty , the Rockies’ No. 2 prospect and their top-rated pitcher, struck out the Oklahoma City Dodgers' side on 12 pitches in the first inning in Saturday's Triple-A contest.

But in the second, he gave up five runs on four doubles and two walks while retiring just two batters. One of them seemed to be a ball on the ground for a double play, but the ball bounced off the hard dirt in front of the plate and over the third baseman’s head.

Rolison sat through a long bottom of the first. Albuquerque scored three, and Rolison batted in the bottom of the first. But having to sit awhile happens to a pitcher, not just at Albuquerque (Isotopes beat the Dodgers, 7-6, in a lengthy contest) but at Coors, too.

“You saw what he’s capable of in that first inning, no double about it,” Albuquerque manager Warren Schaeffer told reporters. “Then he went back out, two hard doubles off the bat, and then a couple of hard doubles off the bat, a couple of walks. Man, that’s not like him. He’s not a guy that walks people. It just seemed it spiraled out of control there.

“But he’s going to be fine. He’ll learn from this.”

Rolison acknowledged his excitement, but said it was basic pitching that eluded him.

“I got into some counts that I shouldn’t have,” Rolison told reporters. “I should have landed some offspeed early in those counts, and I wasn’t able to do that.

“I'm going to go back and look at some film, see what I could have done better. With any competitor, you want to get back out there and have a good outing after a bad one.”