The Colorado Rockies have reinstated left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin from the IL (injured list) and recalled right-handed pitcher Jesus Tinoco from Triple-A Albuquerque. In a corresponding move, the Rockies optioned outfielder Yonathan Daza and Opening Day pitcher Kyle Freeland, 4th in NL Cy Young last year to Triple-A.
Rusin, 32 was completing a rehab assignment in Albuquerque with the Isotopes after suffering a mid-back strain in late March. The lefty has extensive MLB experience across seven seasons with the Chicago Cubs and Rockies. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 MLB draft, by the Cubs. During parts of four seasons with the Rockies, Rusin is 16-19 with two saves, a 4.43 ERA (355.2 IP, 175 ER), 109 walks and 273 strikeouts in 162 games with 29 starts. His best season came in 2017 when he sported a 2.65 ERA in 60 appearances. He was credited with a 5-1 record with two saves on the season.
Rusin appeared in eight minor league games going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA (13.1 IP, 8 ER), five walks and 11 strikeouts.
If fully healthy, his addition will bolster a Rockies bullpen that has been worked extensively in recent games. He joins Mike Dunn and Jake Mcgee as the left-handed pitchers in the bullpen.
"He's pitched a normal Spring Training, Rockies manager Bud Black said. “His last couple outings, as far as the pitch quality, much improved than the earlier outings. So he's confident."
Tinoco, 24 will join the Rockies active roster for the first time, marking his first stint in the big leagues. The native of Venezuela was formerly a member of the Toronto Blue Jays organization, before being a part of the highly publicized trade alongside Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman and Jose Reyes for LaTroy Hawkins and Troy Tulowitzki in 2015. Tinoco appeared as a reliever 19 times for Albuquerque this season, going 3-1 with a 5.04 ERA (25.0 IP, 14 ER), 11 walks and 19 strikeouts.
This move is a huge opportunity for Tinoco who will try and pitch his way off the active roster bubble. Time is of the essence because he essentially has one series to prove his worth before Black likely options a player back to Triple-A on the Rockies off-day, Monday, June 3. The series will be played against his former organization, the Toronto Blue Jays. Unless Tinoco can unseat one of the six other right-handed pitchers in the Rockies bullpen, it will likely be him who is sent back to Triple-A.