The best bullpen in baseball (so far) just got a lot more menacing:
The Colorado Rockies announced today that they have reinstated left-handed pitcher Lucas Gilbreath and right-handed pitcher Robert Stephenson from the COVID-19 IL and have optioned right-handed pitcher Jordan Sheffield and infielder Colton Welker to Triple-A Albuquerque.— Rockies Club Information (@RockiesClubInfo) April 19, 2022
Lucas Gilbreath and Robert Stephenson have returned to the big league club after their placement on the COVID-IL just hours before Opening Day. The current 1.88 ERA by Rockies relievers has been strengthened by two arms that combined to post some of the club’s strongest bullpen figures of 2021 (Gilbreath, 3.38 ERA; Stephenson, 3.13).
Both pitched a scoreless inning with Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday. Gilbreath allowed a single baserunner on a walk, while Stephenson posted a perfect frame with three batted-ball outs.
The Rockies have subsequently sent down Jordan Sheffield, a pitcher that was called up as an injured list fill-in for the two relievers. Sheffield didn’t make a single appearance for the Rockies despite being on the roster since Opening Day; his Triple-A debut lasted a mere 1⁄3 of an inning where he allowed two earned runs.
Colton Welker has also been sent down after his call-up just two days ago. Welker did not appear in a big league game this week, but will look to continue a hot streak in Albuquerque where he opened the season going 12-for-32. He will retain both of his minor league options, as the transaction comes during expanded 28-man rosters and is COVID-related.