WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Rockies on Saturday finally cut the cord on beleaguered reliever Jordan Lyles, the final piece to the Dexter Fowler trade from 2013, cutting the former starter who had become a low-leverage innings eater.
Colorado designated Lyles for assignment and optioned right-hander Carlos Estevez to make room for closer Greg Holland, who returned after the birth of his daughter, and outfielder Raimel Tapia, called up from Triple-A.
Lyles will be available to other teams through waivers. If he clears waivers after seven days, the Rockies could outright him to Triple-A.
“He’s been a great teammate to all the guys,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “He came to the park every day ready to pitch. Never complained, no excuses. But he’ll be the first to tell you his performance was not where it needed to be.”
Lyles arrived in Colorado with Brandon Barnes in a trade with the Astros for Fowler. After struggling as a starter, the Rockies moved him to the bullpen last season and he struggled as a backup long reliever this year, with a 6.94 ERA over 46 2/3 innings.
Holland’s bundle. Holland returned from paternity leave Friday after his wife, Lacey, gave birth to a daughter, Hunter Nicole, on Thursday.
“At 4 p.m., on the nose,” Holland said. This leave was well-timed all around for Holland. He departed the Kansas City Royals during the American League Championship Series in 2014 for the birth of his first child, son Nash.
Tapia’s back. Tapia’s return is his fourth call-up this season from Triple-A. The outfielder has been forced to adapt to the elevator ride between the minors and majors in this, his rookie season.
“It’s not easy,” Tapia said. “But I’m mentally strong. As long as I stay ready and continue to get better, I’m going to help this team win.”
Tapia’s call-up fills a void left by Ian Desmond, who was moved to the 10-day disabled list Friday with a strained right calf muscle.
“Hey, it’s Tap time,” Black said. “The flight back to the big leagues, guys have smiles on their faces. The other way, not so much.”
Footnotes. Right-hander Chad Bettis threw his second Triple-A rehab start, his fourth overall, in a return from cancer. In 5 1/3 innings, he gave up three earned runs on five hits, with two walks. Albuquerque manager Glenallen Hill pulled him mid-at bat in the sixth after he crossed his pitch limit. … Estevez did not leave the team Saturday. He will be the 26th man on the roster for Sunday’s doubleheader nightcap.
First game: Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (10-7, 3.64 ERA) at Nationals RHP Erick Fedde (debut), 11:35 a.m., AT&T SportsNet
Second game: Rockies RHP Jon Gray (3-1, 5.84) at Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson (1-1, 4.76), 5:05 p.m., AT&T SportsNet
The Rockies will stick with their regularly-scheduled rotation for a doubleheader, with Freeland bumping off Saturday a day late and Gray going several hours later than planned to the nightcap. The Nationals, filling in for the injured Stephen Strasburg (elbow nerve), will call up Fedde from Triple-A. He is Washington’s No. 3 prospect. Freeland excelled in his last turn, giving up just two runs on six hits over six innings against the Pirates. The Cardinals pounced on Gray last week for a two-run homer in the first, but he rebounded for four scoreless inning afterward. Nick Groke, The Denver Post
Tuesday: Mets LHP Steven Matz (2-4, 5.51) at Rockies RHP Jeff Hoffman (6-3, 5.58), 6:40 p.m., AT&T SportsNet