DES­MOND LIKELY RE­TURN­ING TO LINEUP SOON

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - — Pa­trick Saun­ders, The Den­ver Post

NEW YORK» Changes are in the off­ing for the Rock­ies’ ros­ter as they opened the so-called sec­ond half of the sea­son Fri­day night against the Mets at Citi Field. A num­ber of moves are pend­ing, and those moves will di­rectly lead to other ros­ter de­ci­sions:

• Left fielder and first base­man Ian Des­mond worked out Thurs­day and passed all of the tests. He re­mained on the 10-day dis­abled list Fri­day, but should be close to re­turn­ing from his right calf strain that put him on the DL on July 3.

“You might see him sooner than you might think,” Black said when asked about Des­mond’s progress, an in­di­ca­tion that Des­mond will not need to go out on a mi­nor-league re­hab as­sign­ment. “He had a good day yes­ter­day in Den­ver, work­ing out. We ran him through a num­ber of things that he passed. He hit and ran the bases.”

• When Des­mond comes off the DL, the Rock­ies will have to make a cor­re­spond­ing move, mean­ing the team will have to send a player to Triple-A Al­bu­querque. The most likely can­di­date is re­liever Zac Ross­cup, who is the fourth left-han­der in the bullpen.

How­ever, should the Rock­ies de­cide they want to keep an eight-man bullpen, the most likely po­si­tion can­di­dates to be sent down would be util­ity in­fielder Pat Valaika, out­fielder Raimel Tapia or strug­gling short­stop Trevor Story.

• Valaika started at short­stop, not Story, on Fri­day night, though Black said not to read too much into that de­ci­sion.

“I don’t know if he’s start­ing ‘ahead of’ Trevor,” Black said. “Pat started last Sun­day. He had five RBIs and hit a three-run homer. He did a nice job play­ing base­ball.”

• Black an­nounced that Ger­man Marquez will start Mon­day’s game against San Diego at Coors Field. Tues­day’s starter could be rookie right-han­der An­to­nio Sen­za­tela, who pitched 3M in­nings in Triple-A on Thurs­day.

If that is in­deed the case, rookie left-han­der Kyle Free­land could be sent to the bullpen or op­tioned to Triple-A. Such a move would not be a de­mo­tion. Af­ter all, Free­land pitched 8M in­nings of no-hit ball against the Chicago White Sox last Sun­day in the Rock­ies’ fi­nal game be­fore the all-star break.

But hav­ing Free­land skip a start or two would be part of the Rock­ies’ over­all plan to lighten the load on their young pitch­ers over the course of the sea­son, as op­posed to shut­ting them down com­pletely. Also, keep in mind that Free­land threw 126 pitches in his near no-hit­ter against the White Sox.

Sen­za­tela was orig­i­nally moved to the bullpen to pre­serve his arm. With Dou­ble-A Hart­ford last year, he threw just 34M in­nings. Af­ter two long-re­lief ap­pear­ances with the Rock­ies, his big-league to­tal reached 92L in­nings. His start at Triple-A on Thurs­day night was his first since be­ing op­tioned July 8.

Foot­notes.

Sec­ond base­man DJ LeMahieu, who was se­lected for the All-Star Game but did not play, is still not 100 per­cent healthy. His groin strain is heal­ing, al­low­ing him to play, and LeMahieu ex­pects to be 100 per­cent healthy in a few days. … Ger­ardo Parra hit cleanup Fri­day night as the Rock­ies tried to cap­i­tal­ize on his hot streak. Since re­turn­ing from the DL on July 7, the out­fielder was bat­ting 7-for13 (.538) with three dou­bles and five RBIs.

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