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Rockies call up RHP Julian Fernández for MLB debut, place RHP Jon Gray on injured list

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Get ready for some 103 MPH fastballs.

The Colorado Rockies have called up right-handed pitcher Julian Fernández from Triple-A Albuquerque. He’s allowed one earned run in his last 18 minor league innings.

Fernández made his professional debut with the Rockies in 2013 when he was 17 years old. He was not protected from the Rule 5 draft and was acquired by the Giants after his fifth year in Colorado’s system, but underwent Tommy John surgery at the end of 2018 spring training and did not pitch for the remainder of the year.

Fernández was acquired off waivers by Miami in the ensuing offseason but as his elbow continued to recover, he did not pitch an inning in the Marlins system either.

COVID-19 kept him out of games in 2020. Fernández pitched for the first time in three years in 2021 and returned to the minor league mounds with resounding success. Fernández has posted a 2.53 ERA in 42 23 innings this year between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque and hasn’t looked back since his Triple-A debut on July 27.

(From August 17: It’s time to call up Julian Fernández | Purple Row)

Get ready: this guy touches 103 MPH on the gun.

To make room on the now-28-man roster, the Rockies have placed starter Jon Gray on the injured list:

Gray last pitched on Sunday at Dodger Stadium, throwing just two innings before being pulled with forearm discomfort. Bud Black spoke on the injury after Sunday’s game: “It’s in the top part of the forearm, which generally, in baseball parlance, is OK, so we will see.”

Gray was scheduled to start Thursday at home against Atlanta. After calling up three different relievers today, the Rockies will likely resort back to hybrid starter Chi Chi González to round out the rotation in Gray’s absence.

Colorado has also welcomed right-handers Antonio Santos and Justin Lawrence back to the big leagues. The Rockies currently have the fourth-highest bullpen ERA in the league (5.12), and have elected to use the additional roster spots to alleviate their late-inning pitching rigors. Lawrence and Santos have combined to throw 27 23 innings with the Rockies this year.

Lawrence has the ability to touch 100 MPH from a low-3/4 slot, which can make for some electric viewing when paired with Fernández’s 103 (and perhaps 104!).