McKenry, Nelson among potential September callups
The next InsideTheRockies.com farm report is coming out soon for those who have donated. If you haven’t donated and would like to receive the August farm report as well as the rest of the upcoming 2010 reports, you can still do so. Click here to learn more.
Major-league rosters will expand to 40 players early next week, and with the recent spate of injuries in the Colorado Rockies bullpen, the team is certain to add a few players. Who might be among the September additions to the Rockies roster:
, catcher: The 2006 seventh-round pick has moved steadily through the system and is now being pushed by and . But McKenry is further along than either of the younger catchers and is having a solid first season at Triple-A Colorado Springs where he is hitting .269 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI. Having a third catcher around would give manager some flexibility with pinch-hitters late in games and the Rockies might like to see if McKenry could serve as a backup major-league catcher.
, infielder: The former first-round pick has been with the Rockies twice this season but didn’t play in his second stint, a three-game visit earlier this month when was placed on the disabled list. His development has been slow since he was drafted in 2004, but he’s still young — he’ll turn 25 next month — and is having a good season for Colorado Springs where he has played second, shortstop and third. He’ll be in the mix for major-league job next season and the Rockies certainly will want another look in September.
, pitcher: He started the season as the Rockies closer when went on the disabled list, but promptly lost the job with a lack of command. He’s had an up-and-down season since returning to Colorado Springs, but has been dominating recently. He could join the bullpen as early as Friday if the Rockies place on the disabled list as expected.
, pitcher: After a breakout season in 2009, Deduno has battled injuries again this season. After years of promise and injuries, Deduno is now 27 and on the 40-man roster, so the Rockies need to know what, if anything, they can expect from him, which gives him a good shot at joining the bullpen in September. If he isn’t called up to pitch out of the bullpen, the Rockies may do for Deduno what they did for in 2006 and in 2009 when the pitchers traveled with the team in September but were only activated when needed for spot appearances.
, pitcher: The Rockies had planned to call him up earlier this season when they needed an emergency reliever, but the callup never happened as a series of rainouts in May eliminated the need. The 23-year-old reliever has had an up-and-down season, but he’s on the 40-man roster and has pitched much better in July and August than he did in the first half of the season. He could be an emergency reliever.
Greg Smith, pitcher: He started the season in the Rockies rotation whenwas injured. After failing to gain a foothold, he was sent to Colorado Springs in May where he struggled and eventually landed on the disabled list with elbow soreness. He returned to the Sky Sox on Monday and could rejoin the Rockies as an extra arm later in September.
Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis,and Taylor Buchholz, injured major-league pitchers: If and when they’re healthy, they will rejoin the Rockies pitching staff. Cook is a candidate to come back earlier with the injuries to Corpas and leaving the Rockies bullpen short going into this weekend’s series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. If Cook starts in Tulsa this weekend as scheduled and the Rockies need an extra reliever, Esmil Rogers could shift to the bullpen to delay that need a few days and give Betancourt a chance to get healthy without going to the disabled list.
Jay Payton, outfielder: After a year off from baseball, Payton returned to the Rockies in spring training as insurance, but has spent the entire season at Colorado Springs where he has hit .321 with four home runs and 13 stolen bases. He would need to be added to the 40-man roster, but he would give the Rockies a good bat off the bench.
Kaz Matsui, infielder: He rejoined the Rockies organization in May after his release from the Houston Astros. After a slow start, he’s had a solid August and could join the Rockies’ crowded infield as an extra bat off the bench and pinch-runner if they can find room on the 40-man roster.
Paul Phillips, catcher: The veteran has made appearances with the Rockies in each of the past two seasons, rejoining the team briefly this season whenwas sent to Colorado Springs. The Rockies are likely to add a third catcher, but Phillips isn’t on the 40-man roster and McKenry is.
Matt Miller, outfielder: A 13th-round pick in the 2004 draft, Miller has hit consistently in his minor-league career but hasn’t shown much power beyond his 2005 season in Asheville. The Rockies have never added Miller to the 40-man roster and despite being available in the Rule V draft the past two seasons, he has remained in the Rockies system. He will be a six-year min0r-league free agent after this season. If the Rockies want to give him a look, now might be their last chance. But they would have to add him to the 40-man roster to do so.
, outfielder: The 25-year-old former high school teammate of has made a slow but steady march through the Rockies system. He’s hitting .291 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI in his first season at Colorado Springs and may yet factor into the Rockies’ plans as a fourth or fifth outfielder. But he would need to be added to the 40-man roster, something the Rockies might be reluctant to do if he isn’t going to see much time next month in an already crowded outfield.
Brad Eldred, first baseman: The Rockies called on Eldred earlier this year whenwent on the disabled list. He had a couple good games early, but struck out in nearly half is at-bats and was sent back to Colorado Springs after clearing waivers. The Rockies would have to make room on the 40-man roster for Eldred, who would be strictly an extra bat off the bench.
, pitcher: The 2009 draft pick has moved quickly through the Rockies system, starting this season at Modesto and moving to Tulsa in July. He’s pitched well after a couple rough outings in Tulsa and is in the picture for a bullpen spot with the Rockies in 2011. The team almost never moves prospects all way from Class-A to the majors in a single season, although there was some talk last season that , who started the 2009 season at Modesto, would do just that. So a major-league appearance for Brothers this season is a longshot, but possible if the Rockies want an early preview on what he might be able to contribute next season.