The Rockies announced they’ve reinstated Peter Lambert from the 60-day injured list. He’ll start this evening’s game against the Giants. To create space on the 40-man roster, Colorado transferred corner outfielder/first baseman Connor Joe from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list. Rookie outfielder Ryan Vilade was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque to open an active roster spot.
Lambert is back for the first time in two years. A well-regarded pitching prospect during his time in the minors, the right-hander reached the big leagues shortly after his 22nd birthday in 2019. His first crack at the majors didn’t go according to plan, as he was tagged for a 7.25 ERA over nineteen outings, but the Rox surely believed in Lambert’s ability to eventually settle in as a solid starter.
Unfortunately, Lambert went down with a forearm strain in Spring Training last year. A few months later, he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. That cost him all of 2020 and almost all of this season, but he’ll get back on a big league mound for an appearance or two to end the year. Manager Bud Black told reporters (including Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post) that Lambert could throw up to 60 pitches tonight.
The Rockies obviously aren’t playing more than a potential spoiler role for the stretch run. Nevertheless, it’s a welcome development for Lambert and the team that his lengthy rehab process will culminate in some game action, however brief. Lambert’s return will allow him to enter the upcoming offseason on a more normal footing, while the front office can get a glimpse of his current form in determining how much they can count on him as an option for next year’s season-opening pitching staff.
Joe missed all of last season battling testicular cancer. Fortunately, he was able to make it back to the diamond on a minor league deal and earned his way to the majors in early May. The right-handed hitting Joe had a quietly productive season in a limited role in Colorado. Over 211 plate appearances, he hit .285/.379/.469 with eight home runs.
A right hamstring strain ends Joe’s comeback season a bit early. Still, it seems likely the 29-year-old showed enough offensive punch to hang onto a spot on Colorado’s 40-man roster over the offseason.