The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING - — Patrick Saun­ders, The Den­ver Post

NEW YORK» Nearly 40 friends and fam­ily mem­bers came to Citi Field to watch the Rock­ies’ Jeff Hoff­man start against the Mets on Sun­day. The rookie righthander was very much aware of the fan club that trav­eled three hours from Latham, N.Y., to see him pitch.

“I ac­tu­ally had more jit­ters this time than I’ve ever had,” Hoff­man said, adding that he could hear “fa­mil­iar voices cheer­ing for me.”

One voice, in par­tic­u­lar, stood out. It be­longed to Jeff Hoff­man Sr.

“My dad’s voice car­ries,” Hoff­man said with a laugh. “I’ve been hear­ing that voice for a long time, telling me how to play the game. When I’m on deck, I can hear that voice above ev­ery­body else’s. That guy’s voice car­ries for­ever.”

Hoff­man did his fa­ther and fan club proud.

The Rock­ies were in dire need of a strong start and Hoff­man de­liv­ered, pitch­ing six in­nings, al­low­ing four runs on seven hits and walk­ing only one in Colorado’s 13-4 vic­tory. He im­proved to 6-1 over­all, and is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA on the road.

“Over­all, Jeff did just fine,” man­ager Bud Black said. “Ev­ery game is a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. And now he’s come back and pitched in front of fam­ily and friends. So he can check that box. He’s done that.”

Hoff­man blanked the Mets for three in­nings be­fore Lu­cas Duda ripped a solo home run to right with two outs in the fourth. As­drubal Cabr­era added a two-run homer in the fifth. But thanks to a big lead pro­vided by the Rock­ies, Hoff­man was never in any real trou­ble.

“He pitched a lot with his fast­ball,” Black said. “They con­nected with a cou­ple of mis­lo­cated fast­balls, but over­all he did a good job.”

Des­mond up­date.

Be­fore the game, right-handed starter Tyler Chat­wood was placed on the 10day dis­abled list (strained calf ) and Ian Des­mond was ac­ti­vated off the DL.

Des­mond, re­turn­ing from a strained calf that landed him on the DL on July 3, made a start in left field and went 2-for-3, driv­ing in two runs with a first-in­ning sin­gle to jump-start Colorado’s of­fense.

“It felt good to con­trib­ute,” Des­mond said. “I felt good, but I was fight­ing my brain a lit­tle bit be­cause you just don’t know how it’s go­ing to go. I was 100 per­cent when (the in­jury) hap­pened, so com­ing off it, you never know what might hap­pen.”

Des­mond was re­placed by pinch-run­ner Raimel Tapia in the sixth af­ter draw­ing a walk, but that was just for pre­cau­tion­ary rea­sons.

“He’s fine,” Black said of Des­mond. “He’d been out there for a cou­ple of hours and I felt fine with where we were with the game. So we took him out. But he’s fine. He’ll con­tinue to get more con­fi­dence in the calf, as will we.”

Ro­ta­tion in mo­tion.

Chat­wood said his right calf mus­cle isn’t as sore as he ex­pected it to be and hopes he can play catch Mon­day. Still, he will miss at least two starts while on the DL.

He in­jured the calf dur­ing warm-ups Satur­day night and tried to pitch through it. He lasted only 19 pitches be­fore he left the game with the Rock­ies trail­ing 3-0.

“Af­ter the fact, it would have been nice to know that he felt some­thing (dur­ing warm-ups),” Black said. “At that point we could have made a de­ci­sion, one way or another, to pull him back right then. … But what makes pro­fes­sional ath­letes at this level is their ex­treme com­pet­i­tive­ness and de­sire to play.”

Chat­wood’s in­jury puts rookie left-han­der Kyle Free­land back in the ro­ta­tion.

“Calf strains are tricky,” Black said. “This doesn’t look like a cou­ple days’ strain. It’s a le­git­i­mate strain, and we felt he wasn’t go­ing to be able to pitch for the next 10 days.”

The Rock­ies aren’t say­ing when Free­land will make his next start. He pitched three in­nings of re­lief Satur­day af­ter Chat­wood’s in­jury. The Rock­ies were hop­ing to give Free­land a mid­sea­son breather while con­trol­ling his in­nings.

The Rock­ies will start Ger­man Mar­quez against San Diego on Mon­day, the opener of a sixgame home­s­tand.

An­to­nio Sen­za­tela is sched­uled to pitch Tues­day, fol­lowed by Jon Gray on Wed­nes­day.

Thurs­day is a day off, so the Rock­ies could skip Chat­wood’s usual spot in the ro­ta­tion and pitch Free­land at a later date.

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