The Rockies made it official on Wednesday. Right-hander Peter Lambert, the top-ranked pitching prospect in the organization, joined the team in Chicago, and will make his major-league debut as the starting pitcher in the series finale against the Cubs on Thursday.
Rockies manager also said Charlie Blackmon (strain, right calf) will be on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque in Omaha on Wednesday and Thursday, and Wade Davis (strained left oblique) came out of a mound session on Wednesday and a decision awaits on whether to activate him or send him on a brief rehab assignment.
The buzz, however, was on the arrival of Lambert, the Rockies second-round draft choice out of San Dimas, Ca., High School in 2015.
Lambert gets the call in the aftermath of the loss of lefthander Tyler Anderson for at least the rest of the season with left knee surgery, and last week’s decision to send lefthander Kyle Freeland to Triple-A Albuquerque.
“I was at the hotel (Tuesday) when my pitching coach called me and said, `Pack up all your stuff and meet me in the lobby,” said Lambert. “When I got there, he told me I was going to the big leagues and starting in Chicago on Thursday.”
By inserting Lambert into the rotation on Thursday, the Rockies will push Jon Gray back to a Saturday start against the Mets in New York, giving him two extra days in an effort to deal with a “hot spot” on his right middle finger that has flared up in his last two starts.
“I’m super excited -- this place (Wrigley Field) is pretty unbelievable,” said Lambert, who will not be added to the Rockies 25-man active roster until Thursday.
Lambert is 2-2 with a 5.07 ERA in 11 starts for the Isotopes but has been particularly impressive recently. The Rockies second-round draft choice out of high school in 2015, Lambert is 1-0 with a 3.69 ERA in his last five starts, having worked seven innings twice and six innings twice in that stretch. More importantly, he has walked five batters and struck out 28 in the 30 2/3 innings of those five games, and in the last three games he has issued one walk and struck out 20 in 20 innings.
“I’ve done well in Albuquerque this year, had a few good ones and a few bad ones, but my fastball command is pretty good right now,” Lambert said. “That’s the biggest part of my game. If my fastball command is good, everything plays off that.”
Davis has been out since May 19, during which time Scott Oberg has handled the role of the closer. That, however, is about to change back to the season-opening approach of Davis in the ninth, and Oberg handling the setup role.
“He threw the ball well,” Black said of Davis’ effort on Wednesday. “The ball was coming out of his hand good. There was no hesitation on the oblique. He feels very confidence, as do we.
“We are going to come to a decision with Wade in the next day or two, and figure out the next course of action, to activate him or if he needs an inning or two.”
Blackmon has been sidelined since May 24, and was eligible to be activated on Monday, but the decision was made to get him game action on a rehab assignment to test the calf injury.
“He felt he was ready to go play and wanted get some at-bats,” said Black. “He wanted to test the calf in competition. He will play (Wednesday and Thursday and then we will get back with Charlie and evaluate the next move.”