Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez feared the worst.
On Aug. 16 at Coors Field against Texas Rangers, the 27-year-old Dominican watched a line drive come off the bat of Scott Heineman and drill Estevez’s right pitching hand. He winced in pain after his first save of the season — and wondered if it might be over.
“The way that it got swollen, I thought (my hand) was broken,” Estevez said Saturday on a video conference call. “It felt pretty bad.”
Thankfully, the x-rays were negative, and Estevez has been positive on the mound ever since.
Entering Game 2 Saturday at home against the Padres, he posted a 2.25 ERA with no runs allowed over his last five outings. Estevez has tallied 13 strikeouts.
“I feel like I’m in a good spot,” Estevez said. “My feel came back. I’m pitching well. … Sometimes my fastball is off and I’m missing a lot, but my slider and changeup are there to back me up. That’s how I feel like I grew up in confidence. I can pitch based on my off-speed (pitches), too, and show my fastball. That’s something that has made me better.”
Estevez has made significant strides as a reliever with his ERA falling in each of the last three seasons.
“The consistency of a reliever is something that’s valued,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “We feel as though we have a good one in Carlos. A consistent performer. I think that can continue into the future. He’s a guy that can contribute at the back-end of the game … to get four or five outs if needed.”
Gonzalez returns. The Rockies announced Saturday that they have called up right-handed pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez from the 10-day IL after he dealt with a biceps strain. Colorado optioned right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau to their alternate training site at Metro State.
Dahl update. Rockies outfielder David Dahl went on the 10-day IL on Aug. 19 with lower-back soreness and is making progress toward a return. He had struggled in 19 games this season with a .189 batting average and 21 strikeouts.
“David is feeling better,” Black said. “There’s no timetable for his return. I wish I could add something more, but David was here earlier receiving treatment. He’s getting better. Not quite sure when he’ll be back in there.”
Padres RHP Chris Paddack (2-3, 5.15 ERA) at Rockies RHP Ryan Castellani (1-1, 3.54 ERA)
1:10 p.m. Sunday, Coors Field
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 AM
Castellani, 24, earned his first career MLB win Monday to open the Diamondbacks series in Arizona. The 2014 second-round draft pick struck out three batters, allowed two earned runs, and three hits over six innings for a quality start. The 3-2 win had snapped a seven-game losing streak. Castellani lingered in Double-A for two seasons (2017-’18) before breaking through to Triple-A last year. Paddack made his major league debut last season and finished his rookie year 9-7 with a 3.33 ERA. He made one quality start against the Rockies with three earned runs allowed over six innings. The 24-year-old right-hander won his first two starts this year, but has since lost three in a row.
Trending: Rockies shortstop Trevor Story entered Saturday night riding an eight-game hitting streak while batting .323 with two home runs and three RBIs over that span.
At issue: Colorado had its three-game winning streak snapped on Friday after sweeping the Diamondbacks in Arizona (3-0). The loss put the Rockies back at .500 (16-16) before Game 2 of their series against the Padres.
Monday: Padres TBD at Rockies RHP German Marquez (2-4, 4.50), 7:40 p.m., ATTRM
Tuesday: Giants RHP Kevin Gausman (1-2, 4.54) at Rockies RHP Jon Gray (2-3, 5.45), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM
Wednesday: Giants RHP Logan Webb (2-3, 4.75) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (2-1, 3.43), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM