Earlier this week Rockies manager Walt Weiss announced that LaTroy Hawkins would get some time off from the closer role and now he’s named Adam Ottavino as the new closer.
Ottavino picked up his first save of the season Tuesday night, striking out all three batters he faced against the Giants. Rafael Betancourt, who was the Rockies’ closer before his elbow injury opened the door for Hawkins to claim the gig, served as Ottavino’s eighth-inning setup man.
Ottavino didn’t show much promise early in his career, but the right-hander used FanGraphs to find sabermetric ways to adjust his pitching style and it’s paid off in a huge way. He’s got a 2.97 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 149 innings since 2013, compared to a 5.42 ERA previously.
Freddie Freeman‘s elbow began barking in the second half of the season and he was a shadow of himself in the month of September. The Braves rested him for half a minute in the season’s final week but he still played 158 games in 2019. They said he was good to go for the NLDS but he was clearly limited, going 4-for-22 in the Braves’ series loss to the Cardinals.
Today the Braves announced that Freeman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday. The team said today that the procedure involved the removal of three fragmented loose bodies and the cleaning up of multiple bone spur formations.
It’s not clear if more rest down the stretch would’ve made a difference for him — and it’s not clear that the Braves had options at first base for the postseason that were substantially better than even a limited Freeman — but it’s clear that not having Freeman feeling like himself in the heart of the order was a problem.
Freeman is expected to be good-to-go for spring training.