Freeland, 28, went down with a nasty-looking shoulder injury on March 23 in a spring training start against the Oakland A’s. After throwing a pitch, he doubled over in pain and grabbed at his left arm — never a good sign for a baseball pitcher. Luckily, an MRI confirmed that it was indeed just a strain and nothing more serious.
After an abysmal 2019 (3-11, 6.73 ERA) to follow up his fourth-place Cy Young finish in 2018 (17-7, 2.85 ERA), Freeland was able to bounce back in 2020. He started 13 games and posted a 2-3 record with a 4.33 ERA in 70 2⁄3 innings — third best behind Germán Márquez and Antonio Senzatela.
Prior to activating the lefty starter, the Rockies optioned their only lefty reliever — fellow Denver-native Lucas Gilbreath (0-0, 8.59 ERA) — to Triple-A Albuquerque. In eight appearances in 2021, Gilbreath has allowed seven runs (including three home runs) on 10 hits, struck out seven and walked three in 7 1⁄3 innings.