Prior to Thursday’s game against the Dodgers, the Rockies announced that they have optioned outfielder Sam Hilliard to the Alternate Site and recalled right-handed pitcher Jesus Tinoco.
The Rockies announced today that they have recalled RHP Jesus Tinoco from their alternate training site and have optioned OF Sam Hilliard.— Rockies Club Information (@RockiesClubInfo) September 17, 2020
Jesus Tinoco, 25, has had quite the year for the Rockies. He was traded to the Marlins on August 14 for RHP Chad Smith. After making three appearances for Miami, he was designated for assignment on August 30. He was then claimed off waivers by the Rockies and reassigned to their alternate training site. In the three appearances for Miami, Tinoco pitched five innings. He allowed three walks and struck out three batters, but did not give up a hit or a run. In 2019 for the Rockies, Tinoco made 24 appearances and pitched 36 innings. In that stint he posted a 4.75 ERA and 1.61 WHIP.
Sam Hilliard, 26, has played in 29 games for the Rockies this year and hasn’t made an appearance since September 8. He got off to a bit of a slow start — hitting just .188/.316/.438 with one home run through his first five games. But overall in 2020, he has slashed .238/.304/.488 with six homers and 33 strikeouts (35.9%).
When asked about the move, Bud Black spoke highly of Hilliard, but indicated that the team needed reinforcements in the bullpen:
“We felt as though we needed some pitching here, that Chi Chi [González]’s coming out of our bullpen,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of guys who’ve been nursing a little bit of a tired arm. That’s why you haven’t seen certain pitchers here the last few nights. So we needed some reinforcements for our pitching staff, so we sent Sam out. Sam hasn’t played in about eight or nine days. We wanted to get him some at-bats at the alternate site, and tomorrow morning and Saturday, to get him up to speed.
“Sam was sort of in a situation where, if there’s some left-handed pitching against us, we’ve got David Dahl activated,” Black continued. “We wanted to get David in there to get him going, to see if he could provide a spark, so those at-bats came at the expense of Sam Hilliard.
“I think Sam, over the first close to 50 games, showed some good things for us and he will continue to do that in the future as a potential Rockie big leaguer, which we all think he’s going to be. There’s some growing pains for sure, with all young players, but we feel great about Sam’s future.”