Rockies activate All-Stars Blackmon, Davis from injured list
NEW YORK (AP) — The surging Colorado Rockies got two All-Stars back from the injured list Friday.
Right fielder Charlie Blackmon and closer Wade Davis were activated before the opener of a three-game series against the New York Mets. Blackmon didn’t play but was available off the bench and is expected to start Saturday night. Davis pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a 5-1 win that marked Colorado’s 10th victory in 12 games.
“I feel good. I’m happy to be back. Watching a lot of baseball the past couple weeks,” Davis said before the game.
Blackmon had been sidelined since May 24 with a strained right calf, while Davis had been out since May 19 with a left oblique strain.
Even without both three-time All-Stars, the Rockies have flourished lately. They went 8-2 while Blackmon was on the IL, and 11-4 with Davis unavailable.
“The team played great. They picked up a lot of games in a short period of time, which is good for the confidence,” Davis said.
To make room on the roster, Colorado optioned second baseman and outfielder Garrett Hampson to Triple-A Albuquerque, and left-hander Chris Rusin was designated for assignment.
After flying into New York on Friday morning, the 32-year-old Blackmon was not in the starting lineup against Mets ace Jacob deGrom.
Colorado’s leadoff hitter reached base safely in 18 straight games before getting hurt. He was batting .300 overall with 10 homers, 31 RBIs and 35 runs in 46 games this season. He had 13 doubles, five triples and a .921 OPS.
Blackmon played two Triple-A rehab games in right field Wednesday and Thursday night for Albuquerque at Omaha, going a combined 2 for 7.
“He feels good,” manager Bud Black said. “Confidence in the calf, no hesitation.”
Following his first stint on the injured list since 2016, the 33-year-old Davis returned to the Rockies without a minor league rehab assignment. He threw a couple of bullpens and then a simulated game against hitters Wednesday in Chicago.
“I felt sharp. I only didn’t play catch for a couple days,” Davis said. “It didn’t really affect it when I played light catch, so I haven’t taken really many days off throwing, so the sharpness of everything has been pretty good.
“It was more of a nagging thing. It just took a little while for that little nagging to kind of go away. And once it started gaining ground, then we knew that it was going to be somewhat quick.”
Davis is 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA and seven saves in seven chances during his second season with Colorado. He has 19 strikeouts and 10 walks in 15 2/3 innings.
The right-hander led the National League with a club-record 43 saves last year.
“No ill effects of the oblique the other day. He’s had three good side sessions. He feels as though he’s ready to pitch and help us win,” Black said.
In the absence of Davis, right-hander Scott Oberg filled in as closer.
Hampson, 24, was hitting .186 with a homer and six RBIs in 33 big league games this season. He was recalled Sunday from Albuquerque for his second stint in the majors this year after making his debut in 2018.
The 32-year-old Rusin missed most of the season with a mid-back strain. He came off the injured list May 31 and made two relief appearances, allowing four runs and five hits in one inning.
Rusin is 16-19 with a 4.52 ERA and two saves in 164 games (29 starts) over five seasons with the Rockies, who grabbed him off waivers from the Chicago Cubs in September 2014. Colorado has seven days to trade, release or send him outright to the minors.
“It was a tough one. We talked about how tough it was for us as a staff and an organization. But we’ll see how this plays out,” Black said. “I think he knew that he hasn’t pitched well and he knows this is a performance game. ... But I suspect and I told him, you know, he could turn this around and be the pitcher that we think he could be and he thinks he could be, too.”
NOTES: Rockies prospect Vince Fernandez was suspended 50 games under baseball’s minor league drug program after testing positive for amphetamine. Fernandez is an outfielder with Double-A Hartford and was ranked the 24th-best player in Colorado’s farm system by MLB.com before the season. The Rockies selected Fernandez in the 10th round of the 2016 draft, and the 23-year-old has hit well at each of his minor league stops. He is batting .263 with 13 homers and a .943 OPS in 51 games with the Yard Goats.