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Rockies reliever Jason Gurka couldn’t make it work in the majors

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No. 33 Jason Gurka couldn’t translate minor-league success to the majors.

San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Jason Gurka received 17.2 innings in the past two seasons, and he got that many because the lefty performed well in in the high minors. Unfortunately, it never translated to the majors.

In 2015, the lefty maintained a sub 3.00 ERA while keeping respectable strikeout and walk rates in Double- and Triple-A. The Rockies called him up in August of that year to replace struggling reliever Tommy Kahnle. But in 7.2 major-league innings, the competition teed off on Gurka. He allowed 16 hits and eight runs in those innings. Gurka did, however, strike out a batter an inning in that extremely small sample, and he only walked two, so there was some hope that he could be a useful bullpen arm.

(The other notable thing Gurka did in 2015 was play right field for an inning during a September game against the Dodgers. Alas, he didn’t receive any chances.)

Gurka earned a spot on the Rockies’ Opening Day roster in 2016, but his results in the major leagues were much the same as they were the prior year. In 9.2 innings, he allowed 16 hits and 10 runs. He struck out seven batters and walked two in those innings. The Rockies optioned Gurka to Triple-A Albuquerque before the end of April. He didn’t make major-league news again until August, when the team designated Gurka for assignment in order to make room for Jeff Hoffman on the 40-man roster. They later released him.

In the meantime, however, Gurka pitched well for the Isotopes. He posted a 1.69 ERA in 21.1 innings. He struck out 31 batters and unintentionally walked just six in those frames. It was an impressive showing, but the Rockies still didn’t believe he was worth a spot on the 40-man roster. Gurka is still without a team, but it’s possible that a team could take a flyer on the 28-year-old lefty.