Rockies DFA Opening Day leadoff hitter, get needed rotation help

May 5, 2023, 3:12 PM

Antonio Senzatela...

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Rockies desperately need to see more of one of their key starting players. But as for their season-opening center fielder, they’d seen enough.

Friday, the Rockies made a flurry of moves, highlighted by the return of Antonio Senzatela to the rotation — nearly nine months after he tore the ACL in his left knee — while designating Yonathan Daza for assignment.

The Rockies also swapped out catchers, activating Austin Wynns to the 26-man roster while optioning Brian Serven to the Albuquerque Isotopes.

Senzatela has been a steady workhorse in the Rockies rotation since 2017. But he struggled last year before tearing his ACL. His ERA and WHIP were the second-worst season-long figures of his career.

After a rehab stint, Senzatela will start Friday night when the Rockies begin a three-game weekend series in New York against the Mets.

The results of his AAA rehab stint were mixed. His first start was shaky, but reasonable; he struck out four while surrendering 5 hits and 2 walks in a 3-1/3-inning appearance April 25. But he got knocked around Sunday in the Isotopes’ 13-8 loss at Round Rock, surrendering 8 hits — including 6 extra-base shots, all doubles — and allowing 6 earned runs with a walk and 3 strikeouts in a 3-inning start.

As for Daza, he started 20 of the Rockies’ first 23 games in center field. But he lost his place in the lineup after the four-game series in Philadelphia April 20-23, then mired in a 5-for-26 slump.

Colorado subsequently called up Brenton Doyle from Albuquerque; he started eight of the nine games since then. Randal Grichuk, who missed the start of the season following sports-hernia surgery, completed his recovery last weekend and returned to the lineup. Grichuk played mostly right field since making his season debut, but he started in center on Wednesday night in Milwaukee.

With the Rockies wanting to take a long look at Doyle while confident in Grichuk’s return, Daza became the odd man out.

Daza didn’t have any power to spare. But even there, his data declined from last year. hard-hit percentage — always low to begin with — dropped from 25 percent in 2022 to 19 percent this season, per Statcast.

His average on balls in play dropped, too — from .347 last year to .323 this year. And Daza wasn’t a plus player in the outfield; he carries a minus-0.4 defensive WAR so far this year.



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