Franklin Morales was acquired in the offseason to potentially be a middle to late inning reliever for the Colorado Rockies. Now, he has made his mark known in Spring Training after pitching a solid game against the Kansas City Royals Monday afternoon. The southpaw would throw five strong innings, giving up one run on three hits but the run was unearned. He would also strike out seven batters as he saw his spring ERA dip to 2.21.
Colorado will have to make up for a spot in the rotation with Jhoulys Chacin out due to shoulder inflammation. The right-hander did start throwing over the past week as he threw a 30-pitch bullpen in which he was told to throw all fastballs. Here is what he said to Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post:
“I feel good, really good,” Chacin said Monday morning. “Everything feels normal.”
The Rockies are going to be cautious with Chacin who is coming off of a career-year with the Rockies. He recorded a career-high 14 wins to go along with a solid ERA of 3.47, pitching over 197.1 innings. They believe he will be ready to pitch in the big leagues somewhere in late-April to early May.
Jordan Lyles who was also acquired in the offseason, has made an impression as well. He has pitched 17.0 innings in four starts this spring, giving up six earned runs while striking out 12 while supporting an ERA of 3.18. If Lyles doesn’t make the roster, he will be on the Triple-A affiliate Colorado Springs Sky Sox to start the season and will serve as an insurance policy.
It’s always good to have pitching depth in the minors as Colorado has their sights set on two top prospects in Jon Gray and Eddie Butler. Both are projected to crack the big club sometime during the middle of the season with Butler likely being the first to be called up.