Rockies relievers Greg Holland and Jairo Diaz both made significant steps in their returns from Tommy John surgery, as they both saw time in a “B” game for the Rockies today.
Holland's fastball topped out at 93 MPH and sat around 91-92, similar to his outing in the sim game from a few days back. He allowed two hits and struck out one batter. Holland is likely on track to be ready for Opening Day.
Diaz may be back on the mound sooner than anticipated after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament elbow in spring training last year. Thomas Harding of MLB.com provided an update on Facebook this morning (video of Diaz pitching included):
"Diaz didn't expect to be in Minor League games until May. However, manager Bud Black said his progress has been quicker than expected. He could be throwing in Cactus League games before Spring Training is done and pitching in the Minors in April."
Diaz pitched in a "B" game this morning on the backfields of Salt River Fields, throwing 11 pitches and collecting two strikeouts. His fastball topped out at 95 MPH. Diaz averaged a 97.4 MPH fastball back in 2015, but it's obviously a little too early to be concerned in the slight drop in velocity.
Harding also mentioned in the comment section of his Facebook post that Diaz, “sat 94, with a two-seamer at 91. Threw a couple sliders and liked it.”
Diaz had a 2.37 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 19 innings for the Rockies in 2015. All in all, this is exciting news for a player who is still just 25 years old and could make a big impact on the Rockies bullpen.