Rockies right-hander Peter Lambert, diagnosed with a forearm strain a month ago, is progressing through a rehab program but is still three to four weeks from being cleared to throw, pitching coach Steve Foster tells reporters (Twitter link via Kyle Newman of the Denver Post).
At the time of Lambert’s injury, Colorado declined to put a timetable on his recovery, with reports indicating that he was expected to miss “significant” time. Today’s news from Foster doesn’t provide an expected return to game readiness, but the fact that he’s close to a month from even beginning a throwing program suggests that he’s multiple months away from that point. Any early throwing Lambert does would of course be limited, and he’d need time to ramp up to long toss, throwing off a mound, facing live hitters, etc.
Lambert, 23 next week, is hardly a household name but is a young hurler of some note within the organization’s ranks. He was the club’s second-round pick (44th overall) back in 2015 and steadily rose through the minor league system, ultimately making his big league debut in 2019. He started 19 games for the Rox with woeful results (7.25 ERA, 5.97 FIP), but this time last year, Lambert was considered one of the organization’s best overall prospects. On a national scale, Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel ranked him as the game’s No. 120 overall prospect heading into the season. At that point, he was fresh off a 2018 season that saw him toss 148 innings of 3.28 ERA ball with a 106-to-27 K/BB ratio and a grounder rate just shy of 50 percent between Double-A and Triple-A.
Even a healthy Lambert wouldn’t have been a lock to begin the year in Colorado’s rotation. Jon Gray, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland seemed like locks, while out-of-options hurlers Antonio Senzatela and Jeff Hoffman were slated to vie for rotation spots along with Lambert, Chi Chi Gonzalez and others (including non-roster invitee Ubaldo Jimenez). The delayed start to the year could conceivably give Lambert enough time to reenter that mix, depending on when (or if) a second training camp is able to come together.