The Rockies announced a trio of roster moves before the second game of their doubleheader with the Padres today, including the news that right-hander Julian Fernandez has been designated for assignment. Right-hander Jake Bird had his contract selected from Triple-A to fill the 40-man roster spot, while infielder Elehuris Montero was also optioned to the minors to create space for Bird on the active roster.
With this slate of transactions, the Rox get a fresh arm added to their bullpen for the second game, and Bird is now on the verge of his MLB debut. Colorado selected Bird in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, and the UCLA product has a 2.77 ERA, 8.5% walk rate, and 32.1% strikeout rate over 26 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque this season. That strikeout rate is notably higher than his totals in any of his previous three pro seasons, which could relate to Bird’s transition to a full-time relief role — he started a handful of games in both 2019 and 2021.
Fernandez has had a much rougher year with the Isotopes, posting a 9.47 ERA and allowing eight home runs over only 19 innings. The hard-throwing righty is known for his ability to hit the triple-digit threshold with his fastball, but Fernandez just had to get re-accustomed to pitching after missing all the 2018-20 seasons — the first two years due to Tommy John surgery and rehab, and then the canceled 2020 minor league season. In 2021, Fernandez finally made it back and threw 42 2/3 minor league innings, plus he made his Major League debut with six games for the Rockies.