Rockies still have roster decisions to make as Opening Day approaches

Mar 10, 2021; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, Arizona, USA; Colorado Rockies designated hitter Connor Joe singles in the second inning against the San Diego Padres during a spring training game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies must cut their spring training roster of 28 healthy players down to 26 prior to their Opening Day contest against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.

The Rockies’ active roster techinically sits at 30, but left-handed starter Kyle Freeland isn’t going to be ready to start the season after suffering a shoulder strain against the Oakland Athletics on March 23. The club on Saturday purchased the contract of Chi Chi Gonzalez, who will fill Freeland’s spot in rotation for at least the first month of 2021. Gonzalez was one of just a handful of non-roster players left in camp; that list is now down to infielder Connor Joe and right-hander Dereck Rodriguez.

Infielder Brendan Rodgers is also on the club’s active roster but is, like Freeland, expected to begin the season on the injured list. Rodgers hurt his hamstring on March 13 and could be out until around the middle of April.

In terms of players who are on the 40-man roster, right-handed reliever Jordan Sheffield and outfielder Yonathan Daza are among those under consideration for the season-opening, 26-man roster. Sheffield is a Rule 5 draftee who must be returned to the Dodgers if the Rockies fail to put him on the roster, while Daza is out of options and must be traded or designated for assignment if he’s not chosen to break camp with the big league club.

Should Colorado choose to keep those two players in order to avoid losing them from the organization altogether, the club could opt to move on from reliever Jairo Diaz, who has followed a poor 2020 with suboptimal results in Cactus League play.

First pitch for the Rockies’ season opener is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. MT from Coors Field in Denver. Germán Márquez will take the hill for Colorado opposite Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.