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Brian Serven joins the Colorado Rockies amidst a series of transactions; Bryant and Senzatela injury updates

Patrick Lyons Avatar
May 18, 2022

After dropping to one game under .500 for the first time since an Opening Day loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Colorado Rockies’ roster is undergoing a few changes this week.

The most intriguing move on Tuesday was the one made out of choice: the club’s backup catcher. 

Dom Nuñez was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque and Brian Serven was added to the 40-man roster and promoted to the big league club.

According to manager Bud Black, the emergence of Elias Díaz as the regular Rockies’ catcher has limited the opportunities for Nuñez, who’s batting .143 (4-for-28) with no homers and two runs batted in through 12 games this season.

“I think more than anything we just felt, ‘Let’s get Dom playing.'” Black explained. “So, when he does come back, he has some footing underneath him – on both sides – to feel really good about his game.”

As for Brian Serven, he’s been a part of the Rockies’ Spring Training roster dating back to 2019 and was one of the chosen few minor league players at the alternate site during the shortened 2020 season.

Mar 25, 2022; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) gets tagged out by Colorado Rockies catcher Brian Serven (66) while trying to score in the second inning during a spring training game at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

A 27-year-old who was originally taken in the fifth round by Colorado in the 2016 MLB Draft, Serven emerged offensively in 2021 with Albuquerque by batting .250 with 16 home runs and 38 runs batted in.

The decision to make the switch at catcher came Monday evening. His manager, Warren Schaeffer, gave him the news face-to-face that Serven would needed in Denver.

“It was like a shock to the emotions,” expressed the product of Palm Desert, CA. “I didn’t really react too much when he said that to me, but then I called my parents and I kind of broke down a little bit.”

One of the reasons for the promotion was Serven’s ability to take constructive criticism and make the appropriate adjustments. The note from coaches this season was to see more pitches and he’s done that threefold. 

In his first trip through the Pacific Coast League in 2021, Serven had a walk rate of 5.8%. His single best season was at 10.1% while in Low-A five seasons ago.

Round two in Triple-A has produced tremendous results: more walks (16) than strikeouts (15) and a 16.7% walk percentage.

Though it would seem Serven will have to adapt to the an entirely new pitching staff, he has lots of familiarity with nearly all the Rockies’ arms from their most recent Spring Training together.

“It’s just (learning) the opposing lineup,” Black said of the adjustments to the new pitchers. “It’s going to be an easy transition.”

While he may not make his debut on Tuesday night, Serven will be behind the plate for Kyle Freeland’s start on Wednesday.

Senza Strain

After leaving Monday’s game with a lower back strain, Antonio Senzatela went on the 15-day injured list and reliever Justin Lawrence was called-up to Colorado.

Senzatela started the contest in a compromised position as his back was originally aggravated during a bullpen session a few days earlier. Two come-backers to the mound during the first and second innings made his back tighten up even worse.

With an off day on Thursday, Black hinted that Senzatela’s place in the rotation on Sunday would go to Chad Kuhl as he’d still have four days of rest between starts.

Long reliever Ty Blach has also been considered for the temporary opening as well as rookie Ryan Feltner, who is currently in ABQ with a 4.08 ERA through seven starts.

Even if Kuhl is the option on Sunday, the Rockies will not have another off day until June 6, so someone will need to take Senzatela’s place in the rotation.

Greetings From Salt Lake City

Kris Bryant makes his first of two rehab starts with the Albuquerque Isotopes on Tuesday night in Utah against the Salt Lake Bees.

Following a cortisone shot over a week ago, Bryant has stated the back strain has improved greatly. He was at Coors Field over the weekend taking part in various baseball activities before the stint with the ‘Topes was decided upon.

Bryant has not played since April 25 and Colorado is 7-12 in his absence.

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